Mpuma shames 'dunce' schools
& calls on teachers to indoctrinate pupils
by Sakhile Mokoena & Justin Arenstein

(October 2005)

Mpumalanga's "dunce" schools where the majority of pupils constantly fail their exams are going to be given "detention".

Nelspruit - Mpumalanga's "dunce" schools where the majority of pupils constantly fail their exams are going to be given detention.

Education MEC Siphosezwe Masango announced last week teachers and principals from schools that constantly turned in exam pass rates under 40% will be summoned to a special "indaba" to explain their failures.

The indaba, scheduled for March 2006, will force under-performing schools to explain themselves in front of their peers.

Masango warned this week glib or generic explainations won't be accepted. Principals will be forced to give detailed and technical reasons for their inability to produce pupils who pass exams.

"But it won't only be the teachers and principals who'll attend the indaba. School governing bodies, learner councils and school management teams will also be present to explain the failures," said Masango.

Rural schools to adopt cluster-based approach

And, taking the strategy into the wider community, Masango has also instructed teachers to begin paying housecalls to the parents of unruly or rogue pupils who are disrupting learning or setting bad examples.

"You must cultivate good relations with the parents of [pupils] who are troublesome or under-performing. You need to explain the reasons and the consequences to the parents, so that they help us combat the problem," said Masango.

It won't all be doom and gloom though. The province's most improved schools, and those that have exhibited constant high marks over the past three years, will also be present to share their secrets for success.

Other strategies for improving overall standards in rural Mpumalanga schools in the coming year include plans for appointing roving specialists to help fine-tune curriculum development in Grades 10 to 12.

Rural schools will also be encouraged to adopt a cluster-based approach to planning for examinations, sharing skills and solutions, as well as developing common assessment tests and preparation programmes.

'South Africa must produce patriotic intelligentsia'

More controversially, Masango also called on teachers this week to indoctrinate pupils with "revolutionary" zeal and Africanist political ideology.

"This has to happen because South Africa must produce a truly patriotic intelligentsia that is an unapologetic disciple of the African Renaissance and the New Partnership for Africa's Development," Masango argued.

"Our education [system] must therefore deliver [pupils] that cadres who are moulded and baptised in our revolutionary ideas."

Teachers who embrace the need for political indoctrination of pupils would be viewed, Masango said, as "progressive" patriots.