Friday, March 2, 2012

South Africa’s Pathetic School Teachers

It’s common knowledge by now that South Africa’s State school system is in a shambles. An excellent Business Day report, published on 14 July 2010 and written by Michael Rice, summed up the situation accurately when it stated: 

“In any educational context, the most important variable is the teacher. Unless teachers are committed and disciplined professionals who take their authority seriously, little can be achieved.”

The old Business Day article draws attention to several factors such as, absenteeism (not students, but teachers), the many reports of teachers and principals being suspended on full pay with full benefits for up to 18 months for alleged activities that range from having sex with female pupils to embezzling school funds, the many schools that are ruled by drug-dealing gangs, the political thugs that use schools as recruiting centres, the violence and vandalism at schools, and so on.

When will it ever end?

 No work, but plenty of pay
Bongani Mthethwa | 26 February, 2012 01:57

Mantombi Mtshali has been paid for six years without working
Picture: Thembinkosi Dwayi

 A SCHOOL clerk and local councillor has pocketed more than R500000 in six years - without spending a day at work.

Yet Gentleness Mantombi Mtshali, 49, still draws a monthly salary of R7145. The matter is now being investigated by the Department of Education.

Mtshali, an Inkatha Freedom Party councillor for ward 23 in Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal, confirmed this week that she last set foot in school in 2006.

"It's true that I have never worked since 2006 because of a fallout with the principal."

Mtshali joined Senzangakhona High School in Makhosini as an administration clerk in 2001. Two years later, she said, relations between her and principal Themba Sithole soured amid rumours of an affair between them - forcing her to stay at home since 2006 while the pay cheques kept coming.

She denied that the two were romantically involved.

Attempts to get hold of Sithole were unsuccessful this week. He was not at school when the Sunday Times visited and he also failed to respond to a text message sent on Friday.

The department's Mahlabathini circuit manager, Selby Nsele, said an investigation was under way.

"This matter was referred to the labour unit for investigation and to take action against whoever was in the wrong. Mtshali was instructed to report to school but she never did."

But Mtshali said work became unbearable following the rumours as well as claims that she received preferential treatment from Sithole.

Mtshali said their working relationship deteriorated and several meetings involving parents, local chiefs, headmen and senior regional education officials failed to resolve the impasse.

Despite the department's instructions to the labour unit to investigate, the Sunday Times has established that the matter was referred back to the school to sort out internally.

Mtshali was elected councillor in last year's local government elections. Her council role is only part time.

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