Parents furious over serious challenges facing Northpine Technical High School
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Cape Town - Parents of pupils at Northpine Technical High School are furious, and are requesting an independent investigation into ongoing issues plaguing the school, under the current management and leadership of the school.
They say there is mismanagement of funds, poor school performance, discrepancies raised in audit reports, a vacant principal post, no head of department and other positions, and a lack of communication between the deputy principal and the school governing body (SGB) on administrative procedures.
One of the parents, who did not want to be named for fear of her child being victimised, said the biggest problem at the school was that there was no proper management or leadership.
She said substandard teachers were allegedly appointed without approval from the SGB and their pupils were struggling because those teachers were often absent or did not teach.
She said another issue was the high absenteeism of teachers, “some days, the pupils only get two periods for the whole day, and sit unsupervised or play outside for the remainder of the day”.
"As a parent of a matriculant, it is very stressful – especially with the added pressures of Covid-19," she said.
She said it has been almost three years and a permanent principal or any “good teachers” are yet to be appointed.
"The SGB goes through all the proper processes for appointments of the principal and vacant head of department posts, but appointments are just never made," she said.
In a letter to Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, seen by the Cape Argus, DA member Denis Joseph said, after his visit to the school in March last year, he made a request to the chairperson of the standing committee on education to visit the school.
"The reason for the request was the under-performance of the school in relation to the purpose of a technical school. Unfortunately, Covid-19 delayed the proposed visit," said Joseph.
Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the department was aware of the allegations, and had consulted widely with role players on the concerns and allegations.
Hammond said a preliminary investigation has been completed by the district, and the findings of the preliminary investigation was being considered to determine a way forward.
ANC provincial spokesperson on education Khalid Sayed said they are also aware of challenges at the school. He said the standing committee on education has been on an oversight visit to the school, where they interacted with the principal and the WCED circuit manager about the challenges.
Sayed said, given the seriousness of the challenges, they were pushing hard for the standing committee to have another oversight visit to the school, where they would openly engage with the current and former school governing body, school management team members, and all teachers, to get an understanding of the severity of the challenges and how they could help bring about lasting solutions.