70% matric pass rate a distant dream for some KZN schools

Democratic Alliance press statement by

Mbali Ntuli, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Education

 

70% matric pass rate a distant dream for some KZN schools

Hopes of a 70% 2016 KZN matric pass look set to be a distant dream as oversight visits by Members of the provincial Legislature reveal a multitude of challenges facing schools.

 

The visits, conducted earlier this week at the start of the third term indicate a common theme, namely a lack of proper Early Childhood Development (ECD) and teachers who are qualified yet lack content knowledge.

 

Meanwhile, ongoing issues such as exam readiness, teacher quality and shortages, overcrowded classrooms and infrastructure remain serious problems.

 

The DA’s findings over the two day period are as follows;

 

-          At Mnqandi High School, Nkandla, which has 102 matric learners the average Maths mark is 3%, Accounting 39% and Business Studies 27%.

-          At Manxele High School, rural Eshowe, matric learners scored between 0 and 5% for Maths, Accounting, and Economics during the second term

 

At Phakati Secondary in Klaarwater and at Dumisane Makhaye Secondary School in Savannah Park MPL’s found evidence of vandalism, a lack of sound management and a dysfunctional SGBs amongst other things.  The same school also has no Science Lab despite KZN’s Education portfolio committee having asked the department to provide a mobile clinic in January this year.

 

The problems identified at this school in January led to the portfolio committee to request that the school leadership formulate a transformation and management plan within 30 days and submit it to the portfolio committee.  To date, this has not happened.

 

To add to the province’s academic woes, the visits also showed a breakdown in the relationship between KZN’s Education and Public Works departments compounding the issue.

 

During the visits, DoE officials complained to the DA about their sister department, Public Works and how it was retarding service delivery, infrastructure development, and repair projects. This was borne out by the numerous instances where resolutions passed by Legislature delegations in January remained unseen to after six months;

 

-          At Asibemunye High School at Mpophomeni, Howick an asbestos roof remains in place despite this health issue having been raised before

-          Phakati Secondary also has no fire extinguishers despite MPL’s having instructed the department to intervene during a January oversight visit.  The school also has an erratic electricity supply.

-          At Zibukezulu High in Imbali, the department’s decision to turn the school back into a technical school in the best interests of the surrounding community has been delayed as the school waits for the installation of special 3-phase electricity supply needed for workshops.  The result is that only a small number of learners are able to do technical subjects when in fact large numbers are needed to make this a viable technical high school.

 

The school visits bring home the reality of education in our province. Many of the schools visited show that the DoE’s turnaround strategy is not working. This is a travesty as matric learners have less than 100 days before they sit their final exams.

 

KZN’s new Education MEC, Mthandeni Dlungwane, has warned that he and his department will crack the whip when it comes to non-performing teachers and principals. The DA challenges him to stand by his word.

 

In terms of infrastructure challenges, it is about time that both MEC’s stopped pointing fingers and began co-operating so that there is progress.

 

Our children can no longer be set up for failure.

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