Education MEC Senzo Mchunu honoured and thanked KwaZulu-Natal’s best high school principals at a Durban hotel last week in a commendable salute to excellence.
It was due recognition of those who had obtained 100 percent matriculations last year, and those who had achieved 90 percent at schools with more than 200 pupils.
Mchunu saluted an elite band who poured know-how and passion into their schools to produce marvellous results and boosted KwaZulu-Natal’s pass rate to 73.1 percent.
More significantly, however, he used the occasion to launch a twinning programme: the best leaders in the province’s teaching corps were asked, as they dined with him, to help the failing schools – to spread their success.
It was innovative, tasking those with outstanding results to engage with the 100 or more schools in the province which had obtained pass rates of less than 35 percent.
Star principals are being asked to tutor them on managing their staff and the curriculum. Mchunu wants the programme running by the end of the month.
Asking proven principals to do it, rather than himself or education officials, was an inspired decision. Failing principals should find guidance from equal colleagues preferable to tips from head office officials; and improvement manuals would not have the same impact.
The tutors are well acquainted with the adversities of resource and skills shortages, and they have overcome them. They are practical experts.
Modesty might not let these tutors say it, but tireless enthusiasm and love for what they do will be a common trait among them. A combination of skill and determination is going to show itself as a component of their triumph.
Hopefully those in need of help will see this, and this dedication will be infectious.