South Africa: Compromising Our Principals - the Red Lights On South Africa's Education Dashboard Are Flickering

opinion

Running a school is a complex job under normal conditions. In a pandemic, it is exponentially more challenging. So much of what principals are expected to comply with has very little obvious benefit to their learners or teachers, yet the consequences of non-compliance can be severe. The red lights are glowing on too many dashboards.

Back in the 1970s I ran a Scout troop for a few years. One of the annual highlights was to take the senior boys on some kind of special expedition - something bigger and more challenging than the normal hikes or camps.

One July, we set off for a 10-day expedition in the Cederberg. Things did not run smoothly. Some way up the N7, the troop's ageing VW Kombi began to feel more sluggish than usual. Then a red oil-pressure light appeared on the dashboard. With that, the interior began to feel warmer and warmer, and the van struggled more and more with every incline.

I was 20 years old or so, and knew nothing about engines. To me it was important to get to Moorreesburg, where we could top up with oil, and so I kept my foot hard on the accelerator to get...

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