Alex residents and education stakeholders should take ownership of their schools if they want their children to perform comparatively with counterparts in former model C schools and private schools.
This was said by the Joburg East District director Mnyamezeli Ndevu in a wide-ranging interview with Alex News ahead of the final matric examinations. Besides a few high performing individuals at the five Alex high schools, the majority are yet to break the perennial hoodoo of underachievers compared to matrics of former model C, private and even some rural schools.
Ndevu lamented the low attendance of 15 per cent of Alex’s matrics at holiday tutorials which were intended to improve their performance in this year’s final matric examinations.
Invoking the adage that charity begins at home, he said unless the parents participated actively in their children’s education, the schools will always lag behind and the parents will blame others and not themselves.
“They [parents] should mobilise to stop truancy, late coming, absenteeism and prevent rampant burglaries by known criminals instead of fighting to be in the School Governing Bodies for self-interest,” said Ndevu. “Education is the only weapon to end the misery and deepening poverty engulfing the township.”
He blamed the community for not doing enough to stop the rampant robberies at the township’s schools which damage infrastructure and in which expensive equipment such as smart boards and tablets are stolen.
“The lack of security and huge losses affects the [education] department’s effort to integrate the children in the advancing trends in global education. Local children will continue to lag behind when known criminals in trucks rob schools and injure security personnel at free will.”
One of the schools, Alex High, has erected a monstrous wall around the school which Ndevu said reflected the surrounding residents’ isolation from the school.
Also, Ndevu urged the police to confront children seen in uniform on the streets during school hours and to continue school raids. He said education was a compulsory right for children from grade R to 12 and parents should attend all school meetings to keep them abreast of the school’s developmental needs.
He said other challenges at the schools such as drug and substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, bullying and gangs would be curbed if the youth and other members of community structures joined the education forum constituted recently by the Provincial Constituency Office.
This, in addition to principals strengthening relationships with the police and other security agencies, and the schools inviting successful former matrics to motivate the current schoolchildren.