KZN school visit shows cramped conditions and ill-equipped teachers to blame for poor matric performance

17 January 2018 - 17:29 By Bongani Mthethwa
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi with Durban South Constituency Head, Dianne Kohler Barnard during the visit to Isisusa Secondary School in Umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal on January 17, 2018.
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi with Durban South Constituency Head, Dianne Kohler Barnard during the visit to Isisusa Secondary School in Umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal on January 17, 2018.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

Some matric learners at a KwaZulu-Natal school whose pass rate plummeted from 95% three years ago to a dismal 26% last year are having to share a desk with two other pupils.

This is what was discovered by DA shadow deputy minister of basic education Nomsa Marchesi and MP Dianne Kohler Barnard during their oversight visit to Isisusa Secondary School in Umbubulu‚ south of Durban on Wednesday.

The two DA MPs‚ along with DA KZN provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango‚ had gone to the rural school to investigate the reasons behind its poor matric results and to engage school management on how it could be assisted.

Only 13 of the 50 learners who sat for their matric exams last year passed. This was despite the school adopting new teaching approaches‚ including video tutorials‚ online class collaborations and the revision of previous matric question papers.

Marchesi said they were shocked by what they had been told by headmistress Nomvula Hlela during their interaction.

“The reason why we decided to come here is because we saw the dropout rate of learners and also the fact that the pass rate has also regressed quite substantially. For us that is absolutely shocking but we had an opportunity to speak to the principal to find out what are the issues.”

She said the they had established that the school only had five teachers and last year they were allocated six additional teachers . However these new teachers were not experienced or well trained.

“She [the principal] had to train them from scratch for them to be able to do their work. This is a high school. These are the teachers that have to teach matriculants but they did not have the knowledge and experience for the subjects that they were supposed to teach.

“The current situation that they are in now shows that by the end of this year they are going to be in the same situation if not worse until the department starts pulling up their socks and making sure that this school is well resourced.”

Marchesi said she would be writing to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga when she gets back to parliament to find out what intervention she will be bringing to assist the school.

The DA’s visit to the school coincided with another visit by KZN cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube‚ who visited a number of other schools in the area.

The MEC also took part in a meeting organised by the KZN department of education to discuss the school’s current situation.

Dube-Ncube said: "So far we are very excited and we're very positive the first day of school is progressing very well. As you can see‚ the school where we are‚ the learning is taking place. The learners are here‚ the teachers are here‚ the department is here. At the other schools where we started‚ we experienced the same thing‚ where learning and teaching was already taking place on the first day of school. However‚ there were some areas where people were still wanting registration for their children which we observed."

But Kohler Barnard‚ the head of the DA’s Durban South constituency under which the school falls‚ was not pleased about the presence of Dube-Ncube and education officials.

“We arranged to come here to do an oversight visit but when we arrived here‚ there were all these cars and all these officials from Cogta and the department of education. Of all schools in KZN they chose to come here at exactly the time that the DA’s shadow minister of education is going to be here. What are they so scared of? They are scared of this lady showing the country how they are letting our learners down terribly.”

- TimesLIVE

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