Parents protest against appointment of Assegai Primary’s new principal

Protesting outside the school gates were parents together with local councillor.

Teaching has resumed at Assegai Primary School following a three-day shut down last week after a new principal was appointed. Parents of pupils were outraged about the principal’s appointment as they believe she was not qualified enough to hold the post.

Last Monday, parents had stopped teachers and scholars from entering the school until the issue was resolved by the Department of Education. They had even marched to the Department of Education circuit offices in Umbilo on Wednesday morning to demand answers.

Chairman of the School Governing Body (SGB), Andre De-Bruin, believes that Odette Rita Abrahams, who was the acting principal for the past two years, should have been selected for the position.

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According to reports, the new principal had a Level 1 qualification and only seven years’ experience, and would be unable to manage the school. However, Abrahams has a Level M7 qualification, which is equal to an honours degree.

“We believe that Abrahams has the experience to run the school and carry out the duties diligently as she was the deputy principal of the school for 22 years. We made several attempts to reach the department to select another suitable candidate for the post as the current principal does not have the management skills and experience to run the school,” said De-Bruin. The school’s last principal resigned in 2015 after 25 years of service.

Deputy chairman of the SGB, Clint Leverton, said that the post was supposed to be given to Abrahams as she was best suited for the post and worked extremely hard over the years to help manage the school. Councillor Aubrey Snyman addressed parents at the school on Monday and called for calm in the community.

“We need to get to the bottom of this. There are inconsistencies regarding the manner in which the person for the post was selected.We need to assess if the appointment was fair or biased. It does not matter where the candidate is from, a person should be hired on merit,” he said.

Department of Education spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said that he is very disappointed with the way the Wentworth community approached the situation.

‘”We are living in a non-racial country and it is sad to see parents protest and shut down a school just because they are unhappy with a newly appointed principal. These parents have children who go to this school and are depriving their children of an education.  We are ironing out the situation and will be taking the necessary action to prevent this incident from escalating,” he said.   De-Bruin said that the principal is not allowed to enter the school until the investigation into the matter is finalised.

Article: Candice George




Candice George

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