Zuma to make unannounced visits at schools

Friday, August 7, 2009

Durban - President Jacob Zuma is to make unannounced visits to schools to assess the performance of schools in disadvantaged communities. 

"As part of active performance monitoring and evaluation, I will visit some schools unannounced to check if the non-negotiables are being adhered to," the President told school principals attending a conference at the Durban's Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

In his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, the President outlined the non-negotiables that teachers should be in school, in class, on time, teaching, with no neglect of duty and no abuse of pupils.

He also said be in class, on time, learning, be respectful of their teachers and each other, and do their homework.

On Friday, the President said that school principals need to get the basics right.

"Teachers must teach for seven hours every school day to enhance the performance of learners. Some of our teachers should know that Fridays and pay days are ordinary school working days," the President said.

He called on principals, as school managers, to be strict at school and ensure that teachers implement their duties accordingly for the better of the common good of the country.

"Our principals are the most important partners in this education renewal campaign. All the international studies show that the biggest driver for better education outcomes is the school manager, the principal," he said. 

He added that academic performance was highly correlated with the abilities and commitment of the principal. 

To make principals accountable and productive, the President said, they must hire qualified teachers, or ensure the training of unqualified teachers on their staff. 

"Successful principals ensure distribution of workbooks and textbooks on time. It empowers pupils to ensure that they complete the syllabus. 

"Successful principals check that teachers are in class teaching and monitor and evaluate the quality of learning with the children, and keep parents informed of their children's progress," he said. 

He added that principals must work with communities and relevant departments to remove obstacles to learning. 

President Zuma said Maths and Science as well as management training should be key areas, adding that the focus should include the many unqualified teachers in the education system, especially in townships and rural areas