MEC must put an end to power struggles in schools

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

As part of their efforts at improving education in Mpumalanga, education MEC Reginah Mhaule and senior departmental management have to address the breakdown in the relationships between principals and school personnel in schools in the Govan Mbeki local municipality, and by so doing, improve their academic performance.

Following the release of the 2012 matric results I performed oversight visits to the three lowest performing schools in my constituency, Alpheus D Nkosi Secondary in Emzinoni, as well as Vukuqhakaze Secondary and Chief Ampie Mayisa Secondary schools in Lebohang.

While all three schools have a host of unique problems, the overriding factor is the complete breakdown in the relationships between teachers and principals. Grievances against principals and teachers alike have repeatedly been submitted to circuit managers and the education department, but have yet to be acted upon – severely compromising the learning and teaching environment.

I was shocked to find one deputy principal of the Alpheus D Nkosi Secondary School, who had simply failed to turn up for work on the first day of the 2013 school year. Furthermore, the same deputy principal showed up for work on Tuesday morning in preparation of the first school day, signed the attendance register, and quietly left. While an explanation of the sudden disappearance and no-show for work may adequately be explained, the fact is that the principal was not informed of the reasons of either, and was left completely in the dark.

MEC Mhaule and departmental officials have to focus their attention on the fact that these three schools, and many others, have shown a dramatic decline from their 2011 results, some so much as 43% – and need to take action.

The key to a brighter and more secure future for Mpumalanga’s youth lies in quality education, and every effort should be made to prevent power struggles from undermining it. To this end, I will write to MEC Mhaule asking her to investigate the many allegations and grievances filed with the department from these schools, and act to remedy the situation.

Learners in Govan Mbeki deserve the same access to quality education.

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