A settlement agreement has been reached in the Moshesh Senior Secondary School learners’ case against the Eastern Cape Department of Basic Education, school governing body and principal.
Palesa Faith Manyokole, a grade 11 learner, initiated the legal action when she took eight respondents – including Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, the Eastern Cape MEC for Education, the school principal, and the school governing body – to court in a bid to hold the respondents accountable for the appalling conditions at the school.
Learners from the school first wrote to Equal Education in 2012 to ask for the organisation’s assistance. Equal Education visited the school to assess the situation, and found several problems at the school which were seriously hampering learner progress.
-the principal spending nine months out of school
-an insufficient number of teachers for all subjects
-some teachers not coming to school
-a lack of leaner access to all textbooks
-underperformance by the school
-appalling conditions at the school hostel
On Thursday 13 June 2013, four days before the scheduled hearing of the matter, Equal Education and the Eastern Cape Department of Education met in East London to discuss progress made to resolve the problems at the school and to chart a way forward. The department reported that:
-they had investigated financial mismanagement at the school
-the school principal was currently under suspension
-a new acting principal had been appointed to turn the school around
-a new school governing body had been appointed and was being supported by the department
-they were investigating the adequacy of the educators at the school against the curriculum needs of the school as well as the status of school governing body posts
-the department had investigated the textbook shortages and had undertaken to ensure that all shortages would be addressed
-they had declared Moshesh SSS as an underperforming school and had instituted measures to address the underperformance
As a result of these efforts by the Eastern Cape Department of Education, the learners and Equal Education agreed to postpone the hearing of the matter pending resolution of the outstanding questions.
A settlement agreement has been reached and settles the matter on the following basis:
1) School management and governance
The respondents have undertaken to:
-institute and finalise disciplinary proceedings against the suspended principal of Moshesh Senior Secondary School
-appoint an acting principal to take over the management of the school
-provide on-going support to the newly appointed acting principal and SGB
2) Vacant educator posts: The department undertakes to monitor teacher attendance and discipline.
3) Provision of LTSM: The department is to ensure full provision of learner teacher support materials.
4) Compliance with section 58B: No later than one month after signing this settlement, the department is to submit a report that provides details on the following:
-academic performance of the school, per subject and grade
-how the district office will work with and support the school to develop and implement a strategy to improve academic performance
-development of a school improvement plan
5) Grade progression and registration: The department is to investigate and assist the learners who were compelled to write accounting exams instead of tourism.
6) Catch-up plan: Provision by the department of a catch-up plan for grade 11 and 12 learners for all subjects the learners did not receive adequate teaching and textbooks for in 2012.
7) School hostel: The department is to conduct a needs assessment for the Moshesh hostel and submit a report by the end of the 2013 academic year.
8) Costs: The second respondent undertakes to pay the cost of this application.
The settlement will assist the school and the community to improve the teaching and learning conditions and governance at this school. We will also assist the community, parents and learners to monitor the implementation of the settlement conditions.
Equal Education continues to welcome dialogue with the Eastern Cape Education Department to ensure that underperforming schools in a similar position to that of Moshesh Senior Secondary are fully supported so that all learners in the province can receive a quality education.
For more information see click here.
For comment please contact:
Yoliswa Dwane (EE Chairperson) on 072 342 7747/ 021 387 0022/3
Brad Brockman (EE General Secretary) on 072 267 8489
Yana Van Leeve (EE Deputy National Co-ordinator) on 082 578 9442
Precillar Moyo (Attorney at EELC) on 021 461 6582