Principal in trouble for allowing learners to be taught in toilets

Following reports that learners at a North West school were forced to learn in the toilets, the principal of the school has been placed on special leave.

The principal has been put on special leave for five days while an investigation is ongoing, according to Mphata Molokwane, a spokesman for the North West department of education.

Molokwane stated that following the reopening of the schools on January 17, the department had become aware of the inhumane conditions at the school.

It immediately dispatched a team to attend to the matter.

Molokwane claims that since the school is not overcrowded, it is not clear why the principal chose to use the toilets as classrooms.

At least 211 students attend the school, which has five teachers and seven classrooms —some of which are not being used to their full potential.

The largest classroom can accommodate 34 learners, while the average size of the classrooms can accommodate 20 pupils.

The principal committed a serious mistake

“The department found that the principal committed a serious mistake by utilising the toilets as classrooms, even when the school had enough classrooms for learning and teaching,” said Molokwane.

The principal, added Molokwane, has not been placed on suspension.

“The principal is not suspended; we are still investigating. “As soon as the matter is resolved, we will be able to announce the results,” stated Molokwane.

The department, he said, also discovered that the principal had committed a further error by hiring teachers from nearby schools.

“The principal of Nthapeleng Primary School did not consult with any of the officials when he was taking this decision [conducting lessons in the toilets],” he said.

“Moreover, the principal also went further to request extra teachers to teach in the multi-grade school.

“As the department, we can confirm that the matter is still under investigation, and whoever was responsible for this inhumane act will have to face disciplinary action.”

The South African Union of Learners (SAUL) called on the SA Council for Educators and the Education Labour Relations Council to take action against the principal.

The principal is unfit to manage education-related issues, oversee a school, and guarantee the security and wellbeing of everyone in his care, according to SAUL president Oratile Levuno.

Violation of educational standards

“This flagrant disrespect for the value of education and flagrant violation of fundamental educational standards are an insult not only to the learners of Nthapeleng Primary School but also to the values embodied in the South African Schools Act,” said Levuno.

“The negligence displayed by the principal demands immediate intervention by the authorities responsible for overseeing the educational system in the North West.”

According to Viola Motsumi, the MEC for education in North West, a thorough investigation ought to be conducted.

“We cannot emphasise enough how incorrect the principal’s choice was. This incident needs our immediate attention,” said Motsumi.

“I have put together a team to formally investigate this incident and pursue appropriate consequences.”

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