Ron Wertlen visited Nkwalini with Darren Anderson, SELF’s new Technical Project Manager for Africa (17-18/1). The solar infrastructure of the Zwelenqaba SS School that Mr Anderson had to inspect was in excellent shape: “I have never seen anything like this,” he said as he inspected the 48 batteries in Zwelenaba’s bank, all of which were at the same level of charge. Well done to Mr Friend who designed and installed the system and Mr Holder who maintains it!
The new year brought a shock to the school. The Department of Education seems to have struck all temporary positions in the province, so the beginning of the year at Zwelenqaba is filled with confusion. Teachers are busy trying to create the school timetable, but do not know how many teachers will be teaching here this year. Teachers have to give extra classes and teach subjects that they have no expertise in. The hope is that the DoE will renew contracts.
At Bafazi JS School is only one temporary post, so the school is not in as much upheaval. But here all the teachers are filling in forms. Zolile Makwayiba (acting Principal) says, “It’s a hunt for ghost teachers.” Could that be the reason for the chaos with the temporary posts?
The Bulungula Incubator reports similar problems at No-ofisi School in Nqileni in their January newsletter. Teaching here is hard enough, without an incompetent administration. Teachers are also scared of asking questions, having previously been accused of trying to subvert “official policy”. They say, let the principal ask and don’t mention our names: “once bitten, twice shy”.
The VSA has planned another trip to Nkwalini and Nqileni in the beginning of March. We will report about the course of action.