10% rise in pass rate ‘a pipe dream’

KZN Ed­u­ca­tion Dept ‘has failed schools’

The Witness - - NEWS - NOKUTHULA KHANYILE • nokuthula.khanyile@me­dia24.com

“The [KZN Ed­u­ca­tion] depart­ment has failed to trans­fer fi­nance al­lo­ca­tions to our schools plung­ing man­agers of schools into fi­nan­cial cri­sis that led to many hav­ing to bor­row money to run schools.”

THE South African Demo­cratic Teacher’s Union (Sadtu) in KwaZulu­Natal has thrown cold wa­ter on the pro­vin­cial Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment’s pledge to im­prove the ma­tric pass rate by 10%.

The union, which is ex­pected to stage a march in Dur­ban to­mor­row, said noth­ing has been done to ad­dress ma­jor chal­lenges, rang­ing from the fill­ing of va­cant posts to in­fra­struc­ture chal­lenges at schools in the prov­ince.

Last month The Wit­ness re­ported that KZN Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Mthandeni Dlung­wane said they were aim­ing for a 76,4% pass rate this year.

Last year, KZN was the third worst per­form­ing prov­ince with a pass rate of 66,4%, al­though this was an im­prove­ment from 60,7% in 2015.

Sadtu pro­vin­cial deputy sec­re­tary Bheki Shandu said the 10% in­crease was not fea­si­ble.

“There are quite a num­ber of things that the depart­ment has been un­able to at­tend to which talk di­rectly to the de­liv­ery of qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion.

“The depart­ment has failed to trans­fer fi­nance al­lo­ca­tions to our schools, plung­ing man­agers of schools into fi­nan­cial cri­sis that led to many hav­ing to bor­row money to run schools. This state of af­fairs makes a mock­ery of a state depart­ment which is guided by leg­is­la­tion and pol­icy di­rec­tives on all man­dates and op­er­a­tions,” he said.

He said if the depart­ment wanted to achieve par­tic­u­lar strate­gic goals it must be in a po­si­tion to en­sure that in­vest­ment is di­rected to the pur­suit of those goals. “As Sadtu we main­tain that the depart­ment has not in­vested enough in the school­ing sys­tem to en­sure that we get those good re­sults.”

Shandu said many schools in the prov­ince lack ba­sic in­fras­truc­tural fa­cili­ ties like toi­lets and ad­e­quate class­rooms.

“Schools were hit by storms in 2016 and this has re­vis­ited the prov­ince re­cently. Storm­dam­aged schools used to re­ceive pref­er­en­tial treat­ment in in­fras­truc­tural main­te­nance to im­me­di­ately re­store ef­fec­tive teach­ing and learn­ing un­der a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment.

“The af­fected schools are al­ways in the far­ly­ing ar­eas where in the main par­ents had forked out their pen­nies to build such struc­tures in the past. The depart­ment must pri­ori­tise these schools as some of the sit­u­a­tions teach­ers and pupils are ex­posed to un­der­mine hu­man dig­nity,” he said.

With less than two weeks left be­fore the 2017 ma­tric class sit for this year’s fi­nal ex­am­i­na­tions, KZN Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment spokesper­son Kwazi Mthethwa main­tained that the depart­ment was ready.

“The depart­ment has done ev­ery­thing to as­sist teach­ers and pupils to en­sure that we ob­tain the de­sired re­sults. Since the be­gin­ning of the year we have been as­sist­ing our pupils with boot camps and win­ter classes. We also trained our teach­ers through var­i­ous work­shops and as­signed them sub­ject ad­vi­sors.”

Mthethwa said they had ded­i­cated spe­cial fo­cus to crit­i­cal sub­jects like maths and sci­ence.

Ma­tric ex­am­i­na­tions will of­fi­cially start on Oc­to­ber 23.

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