Hon Mrs TP Mthethwa, MPL
IFP Head Office, Durban
Greetings, to members of the media, colleagues and representatives from the A M Moola Spes Nova School.
I address you this morning deeply concerned about the general state of education in our province and in particular at many of our schools. Even though the Department of Education gets the largest budget allocated to any department in the province, we cannot say with any degree of confidence that the quality of education our children receive is something we can be proud of. Many schools are under-resourced both in terms of material resources as well as human resources.
It is unfair to expect learners from disadvantaged communities and under-resourced schools to compete on a par with their peers in well-resourced schools. This makes a mockery of the matric awards function that is held at the beginning of each year.
Management by officials of the department leaves much to be desired. We find that many subject advisers and SEMs do not visit their schools to offer assistance and support as often as they should. As a result of this schools have to face their challenges without departmental support.
We are now informed that the Department will be taking mathematics educators out of schools on Mondays to receive training. We are of the view that such a programme will lead to severe disruptions of teaching and learning in schools.
Many mathematics educators also teach other subjects so their absence from school will affect other subject areas and also the general discipline at schools.
I am very fearful for the safety of our educators and learners in schools across the province as incidents of robberies at schools and break-ins and vandalism are on the increase. A disabled learner was recently raped at a school in Jozini. Most of these incidents are reported to the department but not much is being done to improve safety measures at schools. How often have we heard of educators being mugged at school or learners being assaulted by outsiders whilst on school premises during school hours? This needs to be addressed urgently.
We have with us today members of the Governing Body of the A M Moola Spes Nova school. I had a meeting with one of their members a few weeks ago and was shocked to hear of some of the happenings at that school. It is very concerning to hear that regulations contained in the South African Schools Act and those relating to School Governing Boards have been and continue to be flouted at this school. I have heard of a Chairperson who has occupied that position for almost 14years even though he did not have children at the school; many instances of financial mismanagement; abuse of learners and school resources, etc. It is shocking to hear that even though a legitimate SGB was elected at a duly constituted parent meeting, this structure is being undermined by the Principal and the previous Chairperson.
I will allow the SGB members present here today to give us more details of the shocking happenings at that school and you will see that the department needs to monitor more closely what happens at the level of SGBs. Maladministration at this level is also a contributory factor of poor performance at many schools as it leads to demoralisation of staff and the parent component.
Mrs Thembeni Madlopha-Mthethwa, 079 114 3015