Only God can protect our schools, sprinting Lesufi can’t

MANDLA RADEBE of Norkem Park writes:

Panyanza Lesufi is a breath of fresh air to a society frustrated by armchair pseudo-strategists.

He is quick and responsive, dashing [around] Gauteng from corner to corner responding to all sorts of educational issues.

And at last, we did not miss out on his sprint as our own community school, Norkem Park High School, made news with a viral violent video that had, unfortunately, nothing to do with education but boyfriends.

Also read:

Teachers assaulted at Norkem High during MEC’s visit

Education MEC urges Norkem High parents to discipline their children

It is interesting the amount of debate this one incident has generated. I heard one parent blaming teachers, claiming that their children are not safe. Some of the Kemptonians may remember that I wrote on this platform some time ago highlighting problems in that school and one of the things I singled out was the crumbling infrastructure, made worse by the fact that some parents don’t pay for the education.

Even those that can, claim they can’t afford it. I also highlighted that there were three sources [of problems] at Norkem High: one was that some teachers are politicised, the majority of parents don’t care until a child fails, and learners don’t take their schoolwork seriously.

Just a few things to interrogate: in December 2016, Kempton Express reported a chaotic situation regarding learners who failed and wanted to be moved to the next class.

Has Kempton Express tried to find out how those children are behaving this year to avoid a repeat of what happened last year? In that same incident, some parents were verbally insulting teachers for the failure of their children.

There have been at least two parent consultations since then. Has Kempton Express tried to find out how many parents are taking those consultations seriously by attending?

In the same incident some teachers were labelled as an “internal source”, blaming the principal for everything. Are those sources staff members who cooperate for the progress of the school? My point here is that problems have been coming from all sides.

This incident has everything to do with parenting and juvenile delinquency. It reflects what runs deep in our society.

We are unfortunately a society that majors in minors, we build castles in the air and we sadly adopt politicians as role models, a totally wrong group of people to learn morals from.

Most people have gone through what these kids are going through but parenting would inform any kid that boy/girlfriend foolishness like this should never go that far. We must be careful – other nations are bragging about producing the youngest Ph.Ds while ours is disgustingly embroiled in boy/girlfriend fights and parents are disingenuously justifying that.

As for Lesufi, how long is he going to sprint through the province addressing individual issues? In the near future, he will be blamed for attending to some issues and not others.

Most educational issues he addresses come from the three sources I have mentioned in this opinion piece and his policies should interact with the responsibilities of those three sources.

What are we going to do when, for some reason, he cannot do this? We need to wake up and apply policy to address issues. Violence is a crime; why not charge it as such? Why prioritise the rights of the minority and compromise the lives of many?

Parents and teachers have been stripped of authority over their children, and policies and courts took over. Why not use them?

I have one challenge for the Department of Education, and I know they won’t take me up on it. Bring the prayer back to schools and see God protect the children and teachers.

I challenge you. No amount of money spent on protection will ever protect teachers and children – only God can.

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