Capri­corn dis­trict schools must im­prove, says ed­u­ca­tion MEC

African Times - - News - BUKUTA NKUNA

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.

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