Our zeroes this week are principals who, according to a preliminary investigation conducted by the KwaZulu-Natal education department, have artificially inflated the number of pupils enrolled in their schools.
As many as 200 000 ghost pupils have been found – in one district alone, and there are 11 more to be assessed.
Offenders have been warned by the province’s education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni that she was aware of their game and that they were opening themselves up to charges of fraud.
“We are going to name you and shame you,” she said on Thursday at a gathering of principals in Durban.
Schools receive funds and support for extra teachers, feeding schemes, and materials, among others, based on the number of pupils enrolled – but principals’ salaries are also to a degree determined by the numbers of teachers and pupils.
“We will support action against principals who are doing this, because there are huge implications,” said Tim Gordon, chief executive of the Governing Body Foundation, at the same meeting.