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Media Release

Tuesday, 10 September, 2002

New Mentorship and Curatorship programme

Statement by André Gaum, Western Cape Education Minister

The WCED acknowledges that sometimes problems are experienced due to lack of capacity of school leadership.


In order to address this issue my department has approved the implementation of a mentorship and curatorship programme. We believe that this mechanism will serve as a way of introducing greater accountability and transparency in school management and will ensure that corrective actions and development training is taken where needed.

It is our aim through this programme to sustain the efficacy of academic and management standards in schools.


Mentorship implies that a mentor principal, a more experienced and in all likelihood retired principal will be appointed to walk alongside a principal for a period of time.

Mentorship will only be activated in circumstances where principals experience difficulty in managing their institutions effectively or struggle to meet the set benchmarks and criteria.

We believe that this creates serious problems for learners because of the correlation that exists between well-managed institutions and learner performance.

My department does however undertake to ensure that all other interventions will first be explored before consideration is given to either mentorship or curatorship.

We do however want to address this matter in the most sensitive and supportive manner possible and focus on development and capacity building as opposed to grounds for dismissal. We would far rather see this as a positive way to ensure corrective action.


Curatorship which is essentially the replacing of a principal for a period of time with a curator principal. It refers to "custodianship, guardianship,trustee-ship". It means that somebody comes in and takes control of an institution with the aim of restoring normality.

The school principal will be placed on compulsory leave.

This will be the last recourse that the department will take in terms of corrective action. Every other measure possible will first be pursued before curator principals are appointed, unless the situation is very serious. Normally, mentorship would have been implemented and would have failed for a curator principal to be appointed.


In all of these interventions the applicable Educational Management and Development Centre (EMDCs) will be consulted. The EMDC Director will initiate an investigation after complaints have been received.

The EMDC management will determine the necessary intervention based on its finding, nature and degree(seriousness) of the situation.

In all instances of mentorship the Head of Department or his/her delegated authority must authorize the appointment of recommended mentor or curator.

Poor Performance

In context it refers to when management functions at institutions deteriorate to such an extent that it becomes necessary for the department to step in and try to remedy the situation. It also refers to when an employee is not performing in accordance with the job description as set out in Item 2(2) of Schedule 1 of the Employment of Educators Act 1998.

In addition to this, it also refers to when institutions are not managed effectively and/or struggle to meet set criteria and/or benchmarks.

Criteria to declare the Head of an Institution eligible for mentorship and curatorship would include:

  1. Evidence of poor management or the inability to manage one or more of the following:
    1. Finances
    2. Presonnel management
    3. Curriculum
    4. School administration
    5. Learners, attendance or truancy
    6. School buildings,assests or resources
    7. Policies
    8. Community involvement.

  2. Failure to achieve academically - learners must perform according to expected outcomes.

  3. Inability to promote and implement extra-mural activities.

  4. Inability to engage in, and promote healthy interpersonal relations, public relations and communication.

  5. Contributing towards the dysfunctional nature or conflict at an institution.

  6. The inability to establish or maintain a healthy work ethos.

Policy Communication

The following actions will be taken to ensure that the various role players consulted and kept informed:

  • Consultation with Unions in the Provincial Education Labour Relations Council (PELRC).

  • Circulars will be sent to all educational institutions.

  • The policy will be placed on the WCED website.

  • Press release.

  • Roadshow to the various EMDCs.

It is our sincere intention to ensure that our leaders are able to produce well-managed institutions. This policy is not meant to cause fear or confusion but rather to ensure that all parties are aware of the steps that must be taken for non-conformance or non-adherence to set standards and persistent poor performance.

Media inquiries:
Ruhan Robbertze
Cell: 082 577 6551
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