'Useless heads must go'

Sne Masuku and Canaan Mdletshe

Sne Masuku and Canaan Mdletshe

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for education Ina Cronjé has come out in full support of the national Minister of Education's statement that principals of poor performing schools must "be fired".

Speaking to the media yesterday about the provincial department's plans to intervene in the problem of schools that constantly perform poorly, Cronjé said her department would not put up with those principals who were not "cut out" to be managers.

"We are going to take drastic action against those principals who constantly do not take education seriously."

Last year Minister of Education Naledi Pandor expressed concern about schools that perform poorly and warned that heads of such schools would be fired and be replaced by administrators.

The matric pass rate last year in the province dropped to 57percent from 62percent in 2007.

Cronjé said she had communicated with Pandor about the problem of schools that perform poorly and that she fully supported Pandor in her statement.

"We are going to treat cases individually and in cases where we find that the principal did not have enough support to perform her or his duties, we will provide assistance in every way possible such as training," said Cronjé.

National Teachers Union's Allen Thompson rejected Cronjé's statement.

"The department has not provided enough resources such as infrastructure and study materials and yet they are quick to point at principals and teachers who work under harsh conditions to bring education no matter what."

Sipho Nkosi, the South African Democratic Teachers union spokesman, said the "threats" of the Department of Education were highly irresponsible.

"Cronjé and Pandor should go to the grassroots. What they will find is that all the poor performing schools are under-resourced institutions."

l Three pupils were arrested for possession of an illegal firearm at a Durban school yesterday.

The pupils, from Overport Secondary School, were arrested in the morning during a stop-and-search operation.