DURBAN - As schools across South Africa have been plagued by allegations of racism in recent months, some of KwaZulu-Natal’s top private institutions are far behind in transforming staff structures.
The Sunday Tribune analysed the staff complements of some of the schools this week and found a large percentage have not transformed. At some schools, their overall untransformed staff complement measured more than 80%.
Hilton College, Michaelhouse, Wykeham Collegiate, Durban Girls’ College and Clifton still face challenges.
Michaelhouse in the KZN Midlands. Picture: Facebook
Some teachers alleged that management was not doing enough to comply with transformation guidelines set out by the Independent Schools Association of SA (Isasa).
Chief executive Lebogang Montjane said transformation and diversity remained a challenge and was at the heart of its thinking and mandate.
“Isasa encourages its affiliates to comply with the employment equity legislation, which requires institutions to set their own targets in terms of employment equity.
“We have a transformation and diversity toolkit which outlines the self-evaluation process for schools to move themselves, in measurable and sustainable ways, along the path to becoming increasingly diverse and transformed institutions with high levels of relevance.”
Montjane said independent schools were the first to integrate, with religious indepen dent institutions being the first to open their doors to black pupils in defiance of the apartheid legislation.
Durban Girls College in the Berea, Durban. Picture: Facebook
“Isasa believes, once again, that independent schools must engage in profound introspection and push beyond current comfort zones and norms to aspire to become examples of ethical and equitable education for the 21st century,” said Montjane.
Greg Theron, headmaster of Michaelhouse, where more than 80% of staff members remain untransformed, said that for some time now the school had accepted that transformation imperative.
“There is a clear transformation strategy within the broader Michaelhouse strategy which is embraced by all school stakeholders.
“Transformation is monitored by a board committee, dedicated to the agenda, with clear programmes and objectives. Using these objectives we strive to admit as many quality black boys that apply, and as many quality black teachers and interns as we are able to identify.
“Our board acknowledges that more can be done in this regard and has encouraged and mandated management to increase these numbers,” said Theron.
Clifton College in the Berea, Durban. Picture: Facebook
Clifton School principal Gerry Goedeke said he viewed the transformation of both the classroom and the staffroom as an imperative. The school was involved in a number of initiatives to deal with transformation.
“In January the executive headmaster initiated a programme throughout the school titled ‘Conversations About Transformation’. We sent two senior staff for training in diversity and transformation. These two held a compulsory and comprehensive transformation workshop for all staff last week.
“This initiative will be continued and all new staff members will attend this course as part of their induction process,” said Goedeke.
He said in order to afford better management of the programmes and initiatives in place, the headmaster had been mandated to appoint a transformation officer in 2018.
Wykeham Collegiate in the KZN Midlands. Picture: Facebook
Wykeham Collegiate, which also faces a staffing transfor mation challenge, said it valued diversity and saw the transformation process as critical for all schools in South Africa.
“As an Isasa school, we subscribe to the policies, values and beliefs as set out by the association, and we are using the toolkit as a guideline for addressing issues of diver- sity, transformation and social justice,” said principal Susan Tasker.
Hilton College and Durban Girls’ College had not responded to the Sunday Tribune’s questions at the time of going to press.
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