The end of the 2013 academic year also marks the end of a ten-year stint as an official in Metropole South Education District for me. I will move onto new experiences in 2014 in Cape Winelands Education District. So, allow me to share a few of my enduring memories over ten years in MSED.
My role as the head of the school based management unit (SBM) was one I will always cherish. It drove home the cost of education, how important it was for highly competent staff to be in place to manage a school's finances, why internal controls systems were necessary and the critical oversight roles the school manager and governing structures needed to play to ensure effective and efficient financial management within schools, and sadly, the cost burden to schools when this doesn't happen and staff mismanage or compromise an institution's bank accounts through theft or negligence. These challenges still remain today as cash flows come under increasing pressure and school budgets require more thought and ongoing monitoring.
The Dennegeur Primary bus disaster and the murder of the principal of Sithembele Matiso a few years ago, are chilling reminders of the vulnerability of life. I feel privileged to have been exposed to such human tragedy, be part of the suffering of the affected and witness their recovery. Both events drove home the importance of safety systems in schools, and that schools operate in an ever-increasing legal environment, which carry huge responsibilities for management and governance.
Finally, the last five years I've managed a circuit team that has honed and sharpened my skills as an educationist. I have learnt from my interaction with them that no area of work should or must be allowed to be privatized, that it is incumbent on all of us to be subjected to similar scrutiny with regard to our efficiency and effectiveness, that when our learners fail, a 360 degree analysis must take place to determine liability, that our responses to failure must be coordinated and multilayered and that all out work is aimed at servicing learners to realize their full potential - nothing else is more important than this.
In 2014, I will continue to share with you my experiences from a Cape Winelands perspective. You will hopefully gain new insights into schooling in deep rural areas, get a sense of the challenges and a taste of their successes, and through all of this, reinforce our interconnectedness as fellow influencers on the lives of our nation's children.