Dineo restores sanity at Matsha College

09th July 2018
Dineo - Koobonye Source:The Midweek Sun

The infamous Matsha College situated in Kang village is currently busy at work revamping. Since the arrival of the new school headmaster Tshokologo Dineo last year, Matsha is reported to be taking a new shape; in fact some people can already notice the difference.

The school that was famous for student’s wayward behaviour, divided leadership, bullying of teachers and high teenage pregnancies has turned a corner. Students are said to be submissive, teachers are doing their job and there is Godly devotion at the school.Speaking to The Midweek Sun in Kang, Dineo shared that he was appointed School Head Master to specifically calm the situation at Matsha. He was called from retirement by the Ministry of Education. “I was called to restore the school to order and that is exactly what I am currently doing,” Dineo said.

Given his rather impressive record as a headmaster, Dineo said that when he heard that he is to come to Matsha, there was no doubt in his mind that he will make a turn around at the school. When Moeng College turned chaotic back in 2011, he was the man who ensured that it returned to normality. While still in Moeng, Lotsane Senior was said to be performing below par and through his magic touch, Lotsane improved to form part of the top 10 performing schools in the country.

When he entered through the gates of Matsha, indeed the school was a mess; the situation was worsened by the fact that even the teaching staff had given up and seemed hopeless. His immediate task was to observe the whole school for the first few weeks and he was not impressed. He brought all together, including the students and shared his expectations.

To his greatest shock, all were responsive to his instructions, including the students; ‘I was always on the ground and told them that they should be at the right place at the right time. It took me only three months and everything was in order. As I speak, there is peace and tranquility in Matsha,” Dineo said.
Dineo added that they were working on making Matsha a school of choice and so far, he has been receiving positive feedback from the community. There is goodwill from the parents; they have incentives that try to motivate excelling students, and the support he said, was playing a pivotal role in improving the school’s performance.

Academic wise, Dineo is confident that when his three-year contract elapses next year, Matsha will be ranked amongst the top 25 nationally.  According to the 2017 Botswana General Certificate for Secondary Education (BGCSE) examination results Matsha is ranked 33 out of 35 schools.
Quizzed about the secret to his success, Dineo laughed and explained that he is more of a parent to students. He is a very strict man yet loving at the same time, which is how he bonds well with his work environment. He added that Matsha leadership needs to always be on the ground so that children cannot have time to misbehave in their absence.

Idah Motsiane, a Setswana teacher said she has been at Matsha since 2009 and things took a turn for the worst during the public service strike. The students began misbehaving during the absence of their teachers.Former headmaster Phodiso Phori was transferred to Matsha in 2011. However things moved from bad to worse. The school was divided, we had Team Phori and the anti Phori side, it was a mess because nothing was moving forward and no work was done. The children ruled the school and there was nothing we could do about it,” Motsiane said.

Motsiane shared that it was even worse for the female teachers because the students bullied them daily and they could not do their work properly. They suffered in silence and sometimes preferred to stay away from class. He recalled that some teachers celebrated when the ministry suspended Phori back in 2015 following a freak accident that claimed the lives of nine Matsha students near Dutlwe village. Bagorogi Tlhwaafalo, the Agriculture teacher who began teaching at Matsha in 2004 said all is well in Matsha currently. He revealed that he is one of the teachers who had lost hope altogether, adding however that since the arrival of Dineo, the future looks promising.

He recalled that the students used to behave more like animals and would brutally fight in their presence and nobody would dare try to intervene. He gave Dineo a pat on the shoulder saying he is a man of God and has inspired many with his newly introduced morning devotions.The Hukuntsi born Tlhwaafalo said he understood better why some of the children misbehaved saying normally the children have low self-esteem and they tend to take out their frustrations on the wrong people. He said he was once stoned and booed while trying to bring the students to order.

Tlhwaafalo said that as teachers in Matsha, they feel neglected with some of them complaining that they have worked for many years in one institution. However, with Dineo’s arrival, some teachers have been elevated to higher positions and they have been promised massive transfers this year. Masego Sethatho, the school head-girl said that she was one of the students who had refused to come to Matsha. “I told my parents that Matsha would corrupt my mind; however I am shocked to learn that things are different, it is not as bad as we were made to believe,” she said. Masego said she respects her headmaster because he is a loving man and is always available to assist students when in need.  

According to Keokopile Koobonye, the night watchman who has been working there since 1989, Matsha used to be a very good school in the 90s. “However things began spiraling out of control upon arrival of a certain headmaster called Habangane around 1999. Habangane only lasted for a year and a half then came in Moeng Sabone who tried to steer the ship but it kept sinking deeper into the abyss,” he revealed.

He adds that other school heads came in and failed to change the face of the school until Dineo’s arrival. In Koobonye’s view, they can finally breathe a sigh of relief; the student movement during class hours is minimal to zero. The students respect them and obey their instructions. There is a good working relation between them and the teachers, which makes their job much easier.

His workmate Thomas Makopala has noticed that since last year teenage pregnancy cases have dropped. Actually he does not recall such cases this year. He said students used to sneak out to drink alcohol, which he said has since stopped.

Kgosi Basadi Seipone is impressed with Dineo and has already informed the Ministry that they need to extend Dineo’s contract. “He is doing a good job and we still need him because three years is not enough for him to bring the desired results,” she said.
Seipone is happy that for once in a long time she is not attending to cases involving Matsha students. It is her sincere hope that the change shall forever remain with the school.

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