Gauteng education MEC Angie Motshekga has ordered school principals to either shape up or ship out.
Motshekga was speaking at the Ekurhuleni regional education summit at the East Rand School of Arts on Saturday when she took a swipe at principals and other school authorities for their poor performances, which, she said, were reflected in bad matric results.
She told principals they were responsible for the poor results and if they did not turn things around they might as well leave the teaching profession.
"Principals, you are responsible for the poor performance of your schools as far as curriculum leadership and management is concerned. If you don't want to play the game by its rules of being competent then find yourself an exit or you will be assisted to exit," Motshekga said.
She also turned on the heads of departments who, she said, were the subject experts and were expected to ensure subjects were well taught by teachers and understood by learners.
To the teachers, Motshekga said: "You must teach as this is your field of excellence and you must not betray the hopes of learners and community by abandoning your core function."
She told pupils to be disciplined and dedicate themselves to their studies.
South African Democratic Teachers union (Sadtu) said the education department should also take the blame for the high failure rate especially in the previously dis advantaged schools.
Sadtu deputy secretary general Don Pasquallie said Motshekga should have looked at factors such as lack of resources instaed of blaming principals and Heads of Departments
"In South Africa there is no system to train school managers but people rise through the ranks by pro motions. If the education system could come up with policies to promote better shool management we will support them as Sadtu," Pasquallie said.