Firing teachers not the answer

The dismissal of 28 teachers at KwaBhekilanga High School in Alexandra for being lazy is unprecedented - and, as such, holds serious implications for the teaching fraternity.

On the one hand it shows the determination of the department to tackle the contentious issue of under-performance among teachers with a view to improving the culture of learning in schools.

On the other hand it raises questions about whether the department's decision was not hasty and whether proper disciplinary procedures were followed before the sanction.

The move presupposes that exhaustive corrective measures were followed before concluding that the teachers were beyond redemption.

Noteworthy too is a rare move by pupils to petition the department, complaining about their learning being compromised by the undesirable situation at school.

This followed the school's lacklustre 45,9percent matric pass rate last year.

Performance management remains a highly contentious issue at schools. It is always viewed with suspicion by unions citing the element of subjectivity inherent in the process.

A critical component in a school environment, which might have been overlooked by the department, is leadership.

Bad or weak leadership leads to poor performance. The department should rather retrain these teachers to infuse a passion for the profession.