School’s poor performance addressed

2016-01-20 06:00
Photo: supplied The delegation that visited schools within the iLembe District last week to assess their functionality and readiness for the 2016 academic year.

Photo: supplied The delegation that visited schools within the iLembe District last week to assess their functionality and readiness for the 2016 academic year.

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MEMBERS of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature visited schools throughout the iLembe District last week as part of the annual School Functionality Programme.

Officials from the Department of Education (DoE), iLembe District mayor Welcome Mdabe and other local leaders were part of the school visits which started on Wednesday, 13 January and concluded on Friday, 15 January.

On Friday, the delegation visited Inkosi Albert Secondary School in Ntshawini, KwaDukuza, and had the opportunity to engage with the school principal, the deputy and the school governing body on how teaching and learning - and the school’s academic performance, especially in Grade 12 - can be improved.

The school managed a dismal 26.87% matric pass rate for the class of 2015, a decline from 2014’s 62.50%.
The iLembe District achieved a 51.93% matric pass rate, which is 8.77% below the provincial average.

Mathematics, life sciences, geography, economics, accounting and business studies were the most failed subjects at the school, with the school’s top achiever said to have obtained marks ranging from 40 to a maximum of 60%.

Member of the Parliamentary Legislature Mxolisi Kaunda, who chaired the engagement at the school, said the poor pass rate reflects the pupils’ lack of dedication and commitment.

During the session, district director Thembinkosi Vilakazi said the school’s poor performance can be attributed to several reasons which include a time when teaching and learning was disrupted in August last year when the school’s teachers felt threatened by pupils and would not enter school premises.

The Weekly reported on the incident last year.

Teachers had made numerous allegations about the pupils’ unruly behaviour, claiming that pupils used profanities and indiscreetly used and sold drugs on school premises.

Vilakazi said the disruption led to a parents meeting where pupils apologised for their behaviour, with some allegedly revealing that some teachers had asked pupils to cause chaos within the school so as to unsettle the school principal Titus Mthethwa.

She said this was all a “plot to have Mthethwa removed from his position as principal” and claimed that some community members were part of the alleged conspiracy.

Furthermore, Vilakazi said at some point in the school’s history, posts had opened up and interviews to have these filled were disrupted by “some union”, that wanted its preferred candidates placed in those positions.

Kaunda said it is painful that certain individuals would compromise the future of pupils just to fulfill their ambitions for management positions.

“What is painful is that it is highly possible that individuals implicated in such plots do not do this in schools attended by their children,” he said.

Lower Tugela circuit manager MAM Ngubande was tasked with organising a meeting with the school’s staff in order to find solutions to address the general ill-discipline of the pupils as well as improving the academic performance.

Another meeting that the local councillor should convene by Friday, 22 January, must involve teachers and community members and must have a similar agenda.

According to Vilakazi, another contributing factor to the school’s poor performance was the delay on the ongoing construction of new classrooms.

Currently the school uses 18 classrooms which are in a poor condition, said the school principal.

Vilakazi said pupils were meant to have started using the new classrooms by the start of the 2016 academic year, but since the contractor had not been paid for the past six months construction work had not been completed so that the keys may be officially handed over to the school.

She said the contractor is owed R4 million and the district DoE has tried several times to co-ordinate a meeting between the DoE head office, the Independent Development Trust (IDT) – responsible for school infrastructure development and rehabilitation – as well as the contractor to resolve the matter.

Mthethwa said other factors that may have contributed to the dismal performance are that pupils were not attending morning, afternoon and weekend extra classes.

He said pupils’ ill-discipline, absenteeism and late coming could have also contributed to the poor performance.

Vilakazi said the senior management team should monitor teachers closely and ensure that they prepare for and attend lessons and work effectively and efficiently and provide quality education to pupils.

She said dedication and commitment should not be expected from pupils only but from teachers as well.

2015, A DECLINE FROM 2014’S 62.50%.

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