“SCHOOLS are a community project.” This was the song sung by attendees of a meeting held last Thursday at Asibemunye Secondary School in Mpophomeni.
The anthem follows the values of new initiative “Operation Sukuma Sakhe” war rooms launched to encourage the putting together of heads of communities to fight social evils which were inhibiting pupils from functioning optimally in their schools. Members of provincial legislature and Department of Education officials gathered at the school to discuss the school’s poor matric pass rate of 44%. Political champion of Umgungundlovu district and Finance MEC Belinda Scott said it was a matter of urgency to address the unsatisfactory performance at the school.
Leading the provincial leadership, Scott and educational officials also visited Injoloba High in Howick which obtained a 84% matric pass rate.
Asibemunye was found to be a “challenging school” with a plethora of predominantly external concerns. Among them was a teenage pregnancy rate of five percent, gangsterism, alcoholism, drug abuse and absenteeism.
“We need all stakeholders to participate in Operation Sukuma Sakhe war rooms so that they will make inputs to deal with social ills. Government departments should play their part to deal with these issues.
“We need reports from the police, the departments of health and social development to detail what interventions they have made to deal with these issues,” said Scott.
She promised to contact stakeholders as the school alone could not uphold all these responsibilities.
“We do not hire teachers to aid pupils as they give birth in classrooms,” said MPL, Happy Blose.
Mthandeni Dlungwane, member of the provincial legislature and the host of the meetings, emphasised the need to not only speak about the discussed issues, but to have strict time frames in which they were to be addressed.
People at the meeting volunteered to take responsibility in resolving the specific matters listed and vowed to settle them..