An Ode to the Principal

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10 Responses

  1. Jon says:

    Sounds like you are the one who could do the presentation. Interesting thoughts. I think you are right. Did you ask him?

    • johanhburger says:

      Indeed I did. He is one of those who has become a kind of a legend in his own time. Few guys like him!

      • Hannelie Snyman says:

        You show great insight…truly not an easy task. Administration and collection of outstanding course fees at FET Colleges also becomes the responsibility of the principal. Besides knowledge of the NCA, their human skills are put to the test… dealing with needy parents who cannot pay outstanding fees in order to get their childrens results…they rely mostly on government grant. Pregnant gr 10 – 12 students are getting pregnant to add to the income of the family…they are raised and raise their children to rely on government grants…. During the Nov 2010 exam, around 30% of the candidates at our FET Colleges in Limpopo showed signs of being pregnant.
        It is also shocking to see the amount of babies in the waiting line during registration. They cannot pay outstanding fees, and are currently planning to strike and prevent others to enroll. They demand free education, full government bursaries and transport fees. Family planning is not a priority.. it seems. It becomes a vicious circle…. child grant… government dependency… lack of proper education because of the high number of children in classes….low standards.. no jobs … poverty … crime..

        • johanhburger says:

          Thanks for this input. It clearly highlights an aspect we normally do not think of. It complicates the management of schools even more.

        • Larry Lincoln says:

          while one can understand the shortcomings in the FET sector, and there are many,however, I find your comments very disturbing. The way that you relegate your student body to a vague “they” and then go on to focus on the pregancy rate, babies etc. It sounds to me like the old “swart gevaar” nonsense all over again. Surely by now we have moved on from the notions of “the dangerous breeding masses who just demand”? We are one nation and we should all be addressing the problems and overcoming all these fears of the poor and less fortunate being an inferior over-breeding, demanding underclass?
          Why shouldn’t there be free education for all? Since when is it the right of the elites to have access to education? Why tie the inablity to pay fees with babies in a waiting line? Then you claim that 30% show signs of being pregnant? Did you test each female student before the exams to see if they were pregnant or not?
          Yes, we all know the problems you mention, but shouldn’t you and the institutions you represent be part of the solutions?
          Why would these kids enrol for an education if not to try and work their way out of the vicious you so ineloquently describe?
          Yes, the FET sector has many problems, which I don’t deny, but I would have liked to see some spark of empathy/humanity in your comments. Do you not think that your own negative attitude does not possibly contribute to the probelms?

          • johanhburger says:

            Hi Larry, I understand your comments and the hat you put on when you make them. When I read Hannelie’s comments, I read the complexities the principals are facing, not the lack of empathy/humanity you refer to. From a research perspective you are right about testing, etc. Again, I saw the comments from a complexity issue, and not from your angle. So, it is I that need to be addressed about the content of Hannelie’s comment, as I did not look at it from the same angle you did. To blame Hannelie for a negative attitude and a lack of empathy/humanity is maybe a bit strong. In addition, the issue of free education or not is not an issue. I want this to be a blog about life and business in general – not an avenue that degenerates into a political quagmire. We have enough of those. My purpose was to highlight the complex and difficult job our principals have, not create a bunfight about being politically correct or not. And then to give them (the principals) the credit they deserve for doing an undeserving job where everyone else is an expert.

  2. Hannelie Snyman says:

    The needs of these students and their parents are copious. One cannot refrain from feeling an overwhelming sense of empathy…and sadly but mostly, the feeling of helplessness. Our student support services deal with exit level students on a daily basis, trying to assist them to find jobs in the local community. Only a few can be helped. Many 19 year olds are struggling to find jobs in order to feed their two or three children at home. I was merely sharing a personal observation and concern regarding a generation that are raised to rely on government grants. From my experience the past year, (looking at the attendance registers of our College) and the feedback that was received from my colleagues, class attendance is another concern. Students and parents who took responsibility for their tuition fees, attended classes on a regular basis. Student who received government bursaries tend to stay away more often. Mostly because of transport money and children at home.

    Isn’t there another solution to poverty? Instead of a childgrant,
    another way to motivate and assist needy young people to educate themselves before starting a family?.

  3. Philippe Segers says:

    Hi Johannes,

    Thank you for let us learn from your own experience! In France we face the same kind of trouble (diversity at school with all their advantages and challenges), maybe with a scope a litlle bit narrow for the wealth of the parents (here you have less chances to became very poor, or very wealthy). And our Principal are also facing the lack of formation, in leadership as in some basic HR issues.

  4. Hannelie Snyman says:

    See today 24th January 2011 STAR newspaper front page news.
    “Shock: 57 pupils pregnant
    Some as young as 13 at on Limpopo high school are pregnant.
    Meserea Mahungu, the Principcipal of Mavalani High school in Giyani confirmed that two weeks after the school reopened 29 pregnancies were reported (girls 13) bringing the total number to 57 at the school. It is common to see a heavily pregnant minor walking around unashamed in full school uniform or have a minor vomiting or slumbering in class. Rosa Pila one of the parents monitoring pregnant girls blamed child support grants for the scourage………….

    These challenges that are affecting learning and results in many schools accross our country.
    This is a real problem for Principals.

    Joshua Matlou, the mayor of the Mopani district municipality and ANC leader visited the schools and pledged to form partnerships with the Department of Health and Social Development to help pregnant girls who are ophans.

  1. January 15, 2011

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