Principal's Conference

19 February 2011

Address by Premier of the Northern Cape, Hazel Jenkins, on the occation of the Principal's Conference, Kimberley

Programme Director

Honourable MEC for Education

Principals

Teachers

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

At the outset, I want to say how much I value and respect your dedication, expertise, and sheer hard work. As I move around your schools, I’m always impressed by your commitment to this provinces children and young people.

Much has been written and said about how the present system of education must change to retain the basic values of our country while preparing children for the challenges of tomorrow.

It is therefore incumbent of any Principal to provide strategic management, vision, maximum efficiency and better functioning of the school. Principals must provide teachers with the necessary support, training and resources to discharge their responsibilities to the best of their ability.

I am proud to say that my calling in life is teaching, I will always be a teacher. I am a teacher by profession and the journey of my career has been hugely rewarding, both personally and professionally and I hope your journey to date has been rewarding, and that it will continue to be! Teaching, mentoring, coaching: call it what you will it is not an occupation, not a job, not a task. In my mind it is a God-given obligation.

As educational leaders, it is expected of you to create the conditions for effective teaching and learning. You lead the partnerships with parents, families and Learners which we know are so important. You also play a vital part in supporting the development of professional and leadership skills amongst your staff members. You are also counsellor, a confidant and a parent, especially to younger members of your personnel.

In the words of Minister Angie Motshega “We rely on you, believing strongly that school principals are the primary and key drivers of education transformation at and in the school. We are convinced that “a school where learners learn and there is a sense of harmony is often a school with an outstanding school principal” (Action Plan 2014). Your strategic leadership is therefore a requirement for working schools”. Remember you are a principal not just by luck or who you are. You are a principal of a school because of your hard work, your sense of duty and your commitment to uphold standards of excellence.

Without you, there will be no leadership, no drive, and no encouragement for our pupils and teachers. You are a chosen few, and the chosen few are indeed blessed

Ladies and gentlemen I have indicated during the State of the Province Address yesterday that an important aspect of our obligation is to improve learner outcomes so as to ensure that we provide comprehensive support to poor and vulnerable learners in the form of "no fee" schools, transportation and nutrition. We will also assist district officials and educators by providing detailed daily lesson plans.

To learners, we will provide easy-to-use workbooks in all the main languages used in the province. From this year onwards, all grade 3, 6 and 9 learners will write Annual National Assessment tests in literacy and numeracy that are independently moderated. Your school’s performance will, in no uncertain terms, reflect on your own performance as a principal

As we have done previously, we will continue to reiterate our call that teachers must be at school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day.

Honourable Principal’s, I am convinced that you will ensure that every child has text books for quality teaching to take place. If you don’t, I am just a phone call away.

We have also said that teacher training, especially in mathematics and science will continue apace and special attention will be accorded to the training of principals, particularly those in underperforming schools. Your challenges might be great, but nothing is insurmountable. Nothing is impossible. The business of teaching is like any ordinary business, and the good performance of your pupils is your profit, your reward, your ambrosia.

The Government and the people of the province also looks to you to lead schools in raising student achievement, and working with the initiatives we have introduced over the past years. We also recognise the work you do to lead, develop and implement programmes to increase literacy and numeracy. However, much still needs to be done. You are not alone. We will walk the extra mile with you.

Our priority is that “every child achieves literacy and numeracy levels that enable their success” as indicated by the National Minister.

We look at education as a means of promoting good citizenship and a tool for preparing our people for the needs of a modern economy and a democratic society. Through education, our people can be empowered better to escape poverty and underdevelopment.

The Action Plan also addresses the critical issue of teacher development and training. It speaks to the need to improve the professionalism, teaching skills, subject knowledge and computer literacy of teachers throughout their entire careers.

Teachers must be supported in their efforts by a school environment - and an administration - that encourages, foster and maintains natural active learning.

Many principals and teachers have told me of students arriving at secondary school with nowhere near the skills level they need in reading, writing and maths and the enormous strain it puts on their resources to work intensively with these young people just to get them to the next level.

It is for this reason that I stress the lower primary years so much at this conference of school principals. It is because the foundation laid in the lower primary years, where full regard is given to the children’s thoughts and feelings, results in a high school environment where students are self-motivated and fully focused on their academic and future goals. You will as principals ensure that this learning takes place in a completely natural and conducive and self-confident way.

I therefore call upon you to use this conference seriously to consider critical transformations required for us to have working schools and quality teaching. I call upon you to be strategic leaders focusing not only on your schools but on all schools in the country. Working together we can move teaching learning and leading in a new and better direction. We need you !

I thank you.

Ke a leboga

Baie dankie

Enkosi

Mail Us

Office of the Premier 
Private Bag X5016 
Kimberley 
8301

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