Education has been a much debated subject of concern in our Nation, from the Fees must Fall Saga to the latest Matric Results Pass Rate.
However, the Department of Education Ugu KZN, and the South Coast Community Development Committee, in partnership with NPC Intercement have been working together to strengthen the development of education through a series of programmes and development workshops for teachers, lead teachers and school principals.
The Department of Education (DOE-Ugu district), South Coast Community Development Committee (SCCDC) and NPC Intercement recently hosted an interactive workshop “Women in School Leadership”.
Over 30 female school principals and deputy principals took time out from their March school holidays to engage and interact in this leadership development programme, which was held at Port Shepstone Senior Primary School.
Mrs N Mbotho, from the DOE opened the workshop and clarified the purpose of the day to the Principals. She described the importance of “How” to teach children, so they understand the subject matter and the responsibilities the principals and teachers have to ensure that all children are considered in each grade, including the progressed children.
She stressed the importance of a primary schools role of laying a strong foundation of education for the learners, before they move on to high schools. As a strong foundation of education in the foundation phase, assists the high schools in developing the learners at the correct and necessary pace, and reduces the amount of progressed learners in each grade.
To illuminate her point, she welcomed Sizathina Secondary School Principal, Mrs. Mthimkhulu, whose learners achieved a 100% Matric Pass in 2018. Sizathina Secondary School is in the deep rural area of eMandlalathi, Vulamehlo Rural, in the Ugu District and some of the learners walk 7-10km a day to attend this school.
Mrs Mthimkhulu, described how she and her dedicated team of teachers achieved the 100% pass rate for their learners, by putting in realistic goals, values and standards, being passionate about the learners and teaching practices and by also ensuring the learners to have a balance academic platform which includes the participation of sport, cultural activities and debate.
The school achieves these results by starting classes at 07h00 each morning, as well as activities over weekends and dedicated Academic Boot Camps which take place during school holidays. These Boot Camps allow teachers to work with 5 learners each, giving their learners maximum attention to their areas of need and encourages self-study to ensure their readiness for the upcoming exams.
She also encourages networking among her teachers and other schools in the district, so they can learn from each other and to call on the bests skills when needed for the learners. Her teachers are encouraged to attend workshops and development opportunities.
Mrs Mthimkhulu, continues to monitor and support her teachers, encouraging their passion for teaching and above all, she leads by example.
To further foster the Women in Schools Leaders abilities, the next speaker Mrs S Sayed from Catalyx spoke of doing a Needs Analysis, where you need to identify your schools problems, so effective change, transformation and solutions can be implemented within the schools.
She engaged the Principals with a series of questions, “What does the future look like for my School” and “How do I achieve this” for them to workshop together, and present their outcome to the others in the room. Many of the visions and outcomes bared similarities among the groups, with positive outlooks for the future.
The final question put to the Principals by Mrs Sayed, came from the main host of the day, NPC Intercement, “How can we help you with additional development and support workshops?” This resulted in identifying areas of development such as Leadership and Management, Communication, Personal Finance Management, Assertiveness and Conflict Handling as well as several other development areas.
The Principals were further inspired by NPC Intercerment’s Mrs W Ngcobo, CSI Specialist, as she spoke of the Principals dedication to teaching and their schools and she shared three of NPC Intercements 3 attitudes.
Firstly being the importance of” Building Strong Sustainable Relationships”, secondly to “Permanently Challenge Yourself” and thirdly “Strengthen Your Team”. She concluded her presentation by acknowledging all the stakeholders, principals, teachers and partners who make this programme a sustainable success, and thanked them for their time and participation.
In conclusion of the day, Mrs N Mbotho, DOE Ugu, communicated the way forward, by encouraging the Principals to avail themselves to their teachers, learners and stakeholders, and to ensure the best interest of the learners. She also urged the Principals to stay up to date with the DOE Policies and invited them to visit the local offices of the DOE should they need assistance or guidance.
She also spoke about the rekindling of debate at school, as it impacts the learner’s ability to improve their English language skills and prepares for all subject matter taught in English throughout their school curriculum. She concluded the workshop with thanks and appreciation to the Principals, Speakers and guests.