In an effort to reinforce the efficiency and quality of education in public secondary schools, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport issued a directive on August 18 outlining steps to “ensure the best in educational services, sound management principles, and the highest levels of teaching and learning”.

The directive followed observations that a handful of teachers and school management teams had not been fulfilling their duties as expected. It noted that while many teachers and school management teams at public secondary schools had been performing their roles responsibly, a minority had fallen short of the required standards.

"We strongly urge school principals, their deputies and teachers to execute their duties with utmost diligence.

“School principals serve in various capacities including as pedagogical advisers, permanent inspectors, administrative officers, negotiators, educators, service providers, consultants, community development agents, and overseers of administrative and teaching management, among other critical roles,” it said.

Deputy principals, as per the directive, are entrusted with administrative duties, staff planning, overseeing finances, state property and communication. Additionally, they handle matters related to the school curriculum. Those deputies specialising in areas like youth, sports, arts and gender are tasked with managing youth activities, sports, discipline, order, sanitation, environmental initiatives, arts, gender, and other communication responsibilities.

The directive also shed light on teaching hours, stating that teachers must be committed to 40 hours a week while basic level teachers have a mandate for 18 teaching hours and an additional 22 support hours. Those in higher education are expected to teach for 16 hours and provide 24 hours of support.

Highlighting potential issues of concern, the ministry stressed that school principals should ensure teachers do not exploit state hours for private business. The directive further called for the elimination of irregularities, such as offering extra classes outside official hours, unethical practices like buying or selling grades, or being absent without valid reasons.