Capricorn district schools must improve, says education MEC
LIMPOPO Education MEC in Limpopo, Ishmael Kgetjepe, has called on under-performing schools in the Capricorn district to pull up their socks
Speaking at a summit in Polokwane, Kgetjepe, who was not shy on acknowledging the crisis, said the summit was convened due to the decline in the matric results in the district. “Accordingly, this summit is not happening by an accident. It has come about because we are concerned about the state of affairs in Capricorn, which is the hub of Limpopo. It has come about because we need a continuous collaboration on matters of education.
“It has come about because we need innovation and preparedness on the part of our principals and strategic stakeholders so that we take this district to another level of performance, not where it is right now, not even where it was in 2016 and 2015.
“It cannot be that when other districts rise, Capricorn drops when it is needed the most. Your timing of dropping the ball is not right and cannot be allowed to continue,” said Kgetjepe.
He said the districts poor performance has also reached the attention of the Director General of Basic Education Mathanzima Mweli. According to Kgetjepe, challenges that were discovered in schools included the shortage of subject advisors, poor leadership and the phasing out of commerce subjects in schools.
He said that Capricorn had continued to show a decline in examination passes for the past three years. He warned principals to provide proper leadership
“There are still enormous challenges; one such is about the principal’s roles and responsibilities to provide leadership. It is important to reflect on yourselves and on your schools.
“At some point, there was a deafening noise about schools not getting 100% of their norms and standards funds and we have since made sure that schools get the right resources so that they carry out their curricula activities to the best of their knowledge. So, your leadership must be rooted in a reality about what can be done, given these resources, to bring about improvement. You can’t receive more money and all of sudden there are more problems,” said Kgetjepe.
Capricorn District Mayor John Mpe said: “As Capricorn District Municipality, we believe indeed that, the future of our learners could be held hostage by poor basic education, but we don’t think that any pre-occupation with apportioning blame and pointing fingers will help us in anyway. If we were to fall into that trap, the first casualty as always will be the learner.”
Mpe questioned the schools’ poor performance, saying that School Governing Bodies were clearly not committed to playing their role.
“Also worrisome is the issue of inadequate support from the communities you serve, in the work that you do. We were shocked to hear that in some schools the only time parents come to school meetings, is when the intention is to unseat the principal.
“We also recorded concerns that badly managed schools lose learners; a phenomenon which has created added strain on adjacent schools and their principals. Other findings that we noted during those visits include: SGB members are, for various historical and other reasons, not fully prepared for the role that they must discharge in providing governance and strategic direction to the school,” said Mpe.