Baby steps and building blocks

Universally, principals play a key role in education and creating an environment conducive to learning for both children and teaching staff.

Universally, principals play a key role in education and creating an environment conducive to learning for both children and teaching staff.

Their job is no different from that of, say, a managing executive in a company who has to provide leadership by motivating staff to achieve the goal of producing good results.

As central figures and managers of schools on behalf of the education departments, they should be held accountable for both failing in this mandate and also that of fostering professionalism in their schools.

So the warning by Gauteng education MEC Angie Motshekga deserves support from all quarters, whether they be in the province or elsewhere in the country.

Speaking at the Ekurhuleni regional education summit at the weekend, Motshekga blamed principals for their schools' poor results and warned they face the axe if their work fails to improve.

Though we support her tough stance, it is imperative for education authorities to focus on obstacles negatively affecting the education of our children.

These include the shortage of schools, textbooks, facilities and qualified teachers. This country still has children attending classes under trees and in dilapidated buildings with no desks.

Efforts to redress the historical inequalities in education ought to be hailed but still have too small a reach to significantly affect our legacy.

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