Tom Stokes, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on Education
KwaZulu-Natal currently has 576 schools without principals – some 10% of the total number of schools in the province.
The figures form part of a parliamentary reply by the provincial education department to questions posed by the DA.
The unacceptable delay in filling these posts points to serious mismanagement. It is also indicative of a complete lack of urgency and zeal within the provincial education department’s Human Resources department.
Principals play a crucial role in the functioning of schools and there is a high correlation between effective school management and academic results. Their retirement or resignation does not happen overnight. It should therefore not be difficult to manage the transition to a new school principal in an orderly and timeous manner. There should, in fact, be no hiatus in school management – before a principal leaves his or her post, a new principal should already have been appointed enabling a seamless transition of leadership.
Regrettably, the KZN education department’s HR section appears to lack the management and leadership skills at top levels to fix these obvious problems.
The DA calls on the provincial education management to ensure that the HR division composes a clear promotion/retirement succession plan, to be implemented across the province. Private sector is familiar with succession planning for senior management and best practice here must be applied to the public service.