FRANCISTOWN: The coordinator of National School Turnaround Strategy, Tshwarelo Hosia has told North East District headteachers to get rid of bad teachers in their schools so that the results and quality of education can improve.
Hosia said this when addressing a school turnaround awareness workshop recently, which was attended by scores of school leaders at Tadabigwa Junior Secondary School (JSS) in Gerald Estate.
The National School Turnaround Strategy, which is housed under the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE), started last July with the mandate of pursuing the vision of the Ministry that all learners must succeed at all cost.
When setting the tone for the workshop, Hosia said the school heads have the power to weed out teachers who do not add value to the school vision and academic performance target.
He noted that there are teachers who have given up their responsibility of teaching by absconding from lessons and do not have relevant content of the subjects they are teaching hence the need for school heads to use their powers and get rid of such underachievers
“You have the power to reshuffle the teachers in your schools. Do not accept anything that is not good for learners. The interest of learners must take precedence over the interest of teachers. Weed out those teachers who are not conforming to your vision,” he said.
Hosia added that if principals set a high standard of performance and insist on highest degree of professionalism by demanding that the teachers adhere to the set caliber, underperforming teachers would choose to walk away.
“Inform the underachievers that academic performance data shows that the train is going out the rail and I (principal) must intervene now for the betterment of students scholastic wellbeing,” said Hosia.
He further said a turnaround leader is bold, courageous and audacious and is not afraid to take a decision that is meant to improve the student’s academic performance. He added that the principals should go back to their respected schools and restore peace in their schools but never comprise on the expense of the students.The national school turnaround coordinator questioned the principals on appropriate deployment.
“How are you allocating teachers? Are you using data or matters of the heart? You can be deceived by the heart in the workplace when determining if the teachers are meeting the set objectives therefore you need to stay away from such relations. Principals should always use collaborative data of students and teachers performance together with test scores when stationing teachers,” he said, adding that deployment of teachers should be based on merit and performance.
He said that principals have the authority to deploy teachers who play a significant role in providing quality education, which would improve student’s academic performance. When spilling the beans about the school turnaround
He further said the school heads are expected to be the champions of school the strategy by making smart choices in order to get a profound impact. Moreover, the purpose of the school turnaround strategy is to raise calibre of management to ensure that the schools organise themselves through a classroom instruction.
“You know very well that you may not necessarily now mobilise all the resources that you need for the school and reduce the student teacher ration now. Those are issues are beyond you, because they are policy matters,” he said.
He further said that the principal is in charge of the school climate and how to go around the problems faced by the school to produce good results.
He talked about picking one baby at the end of the river instead of trying to carry all of them at once, which is why turnaround is now focusing on issues of governance and accountability.
Hosia indicated that even if MOBE have immersed with many problems of poor results in the past, having good principals could overcome them.
He encouraged principals to rally and have high expectation behind their staff members and work towards a clearly defined destination to achieve good results by unleashing all partners potential.
He also urged the school heads to identify the weakest link in the school because sometimes, the principals have a tendency of sitting in their offices rather than perceiving on what is happening in the classrooms.
Hosia said that principals should also build a team of instructional teachers and make use of their performing structure or departments to guide others so that the playing field can be leveled as instruction is concerned.
When commenting on the presentation by Hosia, Our Lady of the Dessert, Head of Department Infant Naiko Mogapi said that she understood that,Hosia informed them that they should weed out underperforming teachers by demoting them to lower levels of teaching.
“My question now is what if the teacher does not suit to teach any grade? what do I do as a leader?” asked Mogapi.
Rsponding to Mogapi, the school turnaround programme coordinator said that leaders of schools have the prerogative to recommend teachers who are underperforming for promotion and transfer to the regional office.
He said that nominating someone who is not performing for promotion is wrong and an element which is contributing to the downfall of the national academic performance and they should use their powers vested in them to make sure that justice is served to students.