'Offer strategies or we start process of closure this month'
The Gauteng Education Department is adamant that the process to close non-performing schools will begin at the end of the month.
The department has vowed to shut down 200 under-performing schools in the province.
Schools have been given until the end of the month to present "turn-around" strategies to the department. If it is not satisfied with the school's proposal, then it's curtains for those schools.
Department spokesman Panyaza Lesufi said yesterday: "If by the end of the month schools have not provided satisfactory strategies, we will begin the three-month process of closing down those schools."
Lesufi said the primary cause of poor performance in schools was a lack of leadership.
"Without proper leadership we fail," he said.
"We believe that by merging the teachers and the pupils from bad schools with good ones, we will solve the problem of bad management" Lesufi said.
He said the closures would not affect teachers' jobs.
"I can assure you that no teacher will be retrenched," he said.
"All the teachers and pupils will be placed in other schools, where they stand a better chance of performing."
Asked if moving pupils and teachers to other schools would not cause overcrowding in those schools, Lesufi responded: "We do not believe this will cause overcrowding."
Lesufi said the department found that "bad schools" were usually overcrowded, so closing them down would help solve that problem.
Lesufi denied that the government was using a knee-jerk approach and that it was using matric results to determine a school's overall performance.
"We have evaluated these schools and are satisfied that should there be no change, closing them down would be the only solution."
Lesufi said teachers' and students' unions and the communities would be consulted during the closure processes.