The PPA said their biggest concern was the reaction of those entrusted with decision-making at the top echelons of the education ministries. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)
The PPA said their biggest concern was the reaction of those entrusted with decision-making at the top echelons of the education ministries. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Realities at majority of schools overlooked, says SA principals

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jul 12, 2021

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Cape Town - They have been coerced into bringing children back to normal schooling without consultation and empathy for the majority of schools, and find it impossible to function with the current Covid-19 restrictions and protocols, the Progressive Principals Association (PPA) says.

The PPA recently released a statement highlighting their concerns about a number of issues regarding the current state of education in the province and the country.

The PPA said their biggest concern was the reaction of those entrusted with decision-making at the top echelons of the education ministries.

Educators Union of SA provincial chairperson André de Bruyn said the union maintained its stance that having full capacity at schools would violate international Covid-19 protocols, and a safe social distance would not be kept in classes.

The PPA said the education ministry had once again ignored the realities facing the majority of learners and schools.

“The learners at the more resourced schools will once again be advantaged. This will exacerbate the gulf between the affluent and the poor. The lack of timely and relevant response by our Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is of concern. Their silence and slavish implementation of this instruction reeks of complicity and lack of empathy for the poor.”

The PPA said they were livid at the manner in which departmental officials were hell bent on pushing an unrealistic curriculum at the expense of quality teaching nd learning.

The association said despite the challenging curriculum demands, the WCED has planned systemic tests for grades 3, 6 and 9.

“These assessments have been proven to be of little or no educational value over the years. The WCED is intent on wasting millions of rands on this futile exercise. The data gained from these tests have not been used to improve their planning and support where it is vitally needed.”

Among its concerns, the PPA said the appointment of retired personnel as consultants in the department showed an absence of succession and mentoring which needed to take place in the last few years before the exit of the incumbent, and there was no evidence of that in the WCED.

They also highlighted the issue of the payment of salaries and acting allowances to personnel, which they said has been tardy, and nobody was taking responsibility for this utter incompetence.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the manner in which the statement was written was alarming, because it bore no resemblance to the cordial and constructive engagement they have had with the PPA over the past few years.

Hammond said the WCED engages with the PPA regularly, whereby they are invited to place items of concern on the agenda for discussion. None of the issues had been raised previously.

“The Head of Department has communicated with the chairperson of the PPA and has offered to engage with them on the concerns raised,” said Hammond.

However, she said they welcomed constructive engagement and debate on the many issues affecting education.

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Cape Argus

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