Limpopo education working hard to hire principals again
Johannesburg - The Limpopo Department of Education says it is working towards lifting a moratorium it has on the appointment of principals, deputy principals and heads of department in schools.
Members of parliament’s portfolio committee on basic education lifted the lid on the moratorium that the department has quietly been implementing during their oversight visit to the province recently.
The committee visited 10 schools in Limpopo’s Capricorn and Sekhukhune districts earlier last month.
One schools had no principal and another had no deputy, raising concerns about how many more public schools in the province were barred by the moratorium from filling the critical posts.
The committee’s tabled report pointed out that during the visits “members queried whether the department was considering the lifting of the moratorium on the appointment of principals/deputies and heads of department”.
In its recommendations, the report urged the Limpopo education department to “ensure that vacant posts are filled as a matter of urgency”.
“The department should consider lifting the moratorium on the filling of posts,” said the report.
Notorious for performing unimpressively in matric results, Limpopo was at the bottom in the 2019 results. It achieved a 69.4% pass rate.
Sam Makondo, the department’s spokesperson, told The Star that all was being done to do away with the moratorium. He said the education department was in talks with the provincial finance department to avail funds.
“Yes, we agree with the committee that all means must be made to fill all these posts and accordingly we are in discussions with the Provincial Treasury to reprioritise the recruitment plan and budget to accommodate the filling of School Management Teams (SMT) as a matter of priority,” said Makondo.
The department conceded that the moratorium had negative impact on ensuring that all learners across Limpopo received quality education.
“Obviously high vacancy rates in this category of posts impact on the functionality and effectiveness of School Management Teams and that’s why we are having these engagements to address the filling of these critical posts as a matter of priority,” said Makondo.
Asked why they resorted to this drastic measure in the place, Makondo said:” The department has not been able to fill all posts due to budgetary constraints.
“However, of the SMT posts, the department has been concentrating on principal posts given the constraints and between September and December last year, we filled 171 principal posts to ensure that schools have permanently appointed managers.”
Caiphus Moshutla, chairperson of the Saviour Association of School Governing Bodies, said the moratorium had caused many schools to go without deputy principals and heads of department.
Dozens of schools had acting principals, said Moshutla.
“We’ve got a serious problem on heads of department and deputies vacancies. The department does not even gazette those posts,” he said.
Acting principals were also not a desirable arrangement, said Moshutla. “They fear taking certain decisions in schools.
“They think, ‘if I’m being harsh they won’t give me the post’.”