Tom Stokes, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Education
A VISIT last week by the Democratic Alliance to Emshetsi High School, in the Thabamthlope area of KwaZulu-Natal, revealed utter chaos with some 1 500 learners either milling around or strolling out of the school gates at 11.30am.
According to the school’s deputy principal, teachers were attending an in- service course while the principal had been called to an education department meeting. A request to view the school attendance register exposed that of the 40 educators on the roll, 25 were absent – presumably they were at the workshop. Of the remaining 15 at school, just three were in classrooms.
Quite clearly Emshetsi High School has yet to realize the urgency of the crisis facing education in our country and is being led by a principal who seems to have lost the steerage of his ship. Last week’s chaos comes despite clear instructions from KwaZulu-Natal’s Education HOD, to officials, not to schedule meetings or workshops during school hours. Yet officials continue to disrupt teaching and learning by calling principals and educators away from their schools during class time.
Yesterday, the Democratic Alliance tabled a motion calling on KZN Education MEC, Senzo Mchunu, to immediately issue a memorandum instructing all officials to refrain from arranging workshops or meetings for teachers during class time, with a precise indication of the sanctions should these instructions be ignored. The habit of placing the convenience of teachers and officials ahead of the rights of learners has to be stopped and stopped now.