An­gry Angie kicks ‘use­less plan’ to the kerb

CityPress - - News - SIPHO MA­SONDO sipho.ma­sondo@city­press.co.za

This week, Ba­sic Education Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga sent KwaZulu-Na­tal education of­fi­cials pack­ing over what pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials called a “generic, poor and down­right use­less” ma­tric turn­around plan.

City Press has learnt that se­nior of­fi­cials in the pro­vin­cial depart­ment, in­clud­ing district di­rec­tors, started refining their ma­tric turn­around strat­egy on Mon­day evening and fin­ished early on Tues­day morn­ing.

Mot­shekga, at an education sum­mit in Dur­ban last Fri­day, had re­jected their ini­tial plan, say­ing it was too “generic and with­out di­rec­tion”.

A se­nior pro­vin­cial education ex­ec­u­tive said Mot­shekga was fu­ri­ous about it. “And the premier [Senzo Mchunu] was also an­gry.” He said the min­is­ter had in­di­cated it “says noth­ing about the chal­lenges fac­ing the prov­ince. Al­though she didn’t say it in as many words, the feel­ing was that the plan was down­right use­less. She tore it to pieces and threw it out.”

City Press spoke to four se­nior education of­fi­cials who had at­tended the meet­ing – one in­side the na­tional ba­sic education depart­ment and three se­nior pro­vin­cial education of­fi­cials.

One of the pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said: “On Tues­day, we sat again with all district di­rec­tors and the team from cur­ricu­lum and for­mu­lated a new plan to ad­dress the de­cline. We sat un­til 2am in the morn­ing.”

Last year, the prov­ince’s ma­tric re­sults dropped to 60.7%, from 69.7% in 2014 and 77.4% in 2013.

An­other se­nior pro­vin­cial of­fi­cial, who also at­tended the se­ries of meet­ings, said the plan Mot­shekga shot down was first pre­sented at an education lek­gotla that the min­is­ter called last month in Cen­tu­rion.

“The same plan was pre­sented in Cen­tu­rion and was pre­sented by a clue­less ju­nior of­fi­cial when other provinces sent deputy di­rec­tors-gen­eral to make pre­sen­ta­tions. The plan was also pre­sented to the pro­vin­cial ANC lead­er­ship some­time last month,” she said.

“Again, it was pre­sented to the par­lia­men­tary port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on education, which vis­ited us three weeks ago.”

The of­fi­cial told City Press the com­mit­tee had also re­jected the plan, and asked the depart­ment’s lead­er­ship to re­fine it.

“Angie felt that the plan was too broad. She told us that teach­ers and pupils should be in class and that no union meet­ings should be con­ducted dur­ing school hours. Prin­ci­pals and man­age­ment should be or­derly.”

An­other se­nior education ex­ec­u­tive said Mot­shekga “told us that we should face the re­al­ity that we have no plan”.

“She tore into the plan, say­ing it was very broad and lacked di­rec­tion. She de­manded a plan with specifics. Mot­shekga also met with all district di­rec­tors and cir­cuit man­agers in a bid to try to un­der­stand their prob­lems.”

The of­fi­cial said Mot­shekga lam­basted of­fi­cials who used the ab­sence of re­sources as an ex­cuse for bad per­for­mance.

Na­tional ba­sic education depart­ment spokesper­son Eli­jah Mh­langa said Mot­shekga “wanted some­thing mea­sur­able, prac­ti­cal and to the point ... she wanted peo­ple to be ac­count­able”.

A source said that the new plan was pre­sented to the min­is­ter in Em­pan­geni, north­east of Dur­ban, on Tues­day, and she ac­cepted it.

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