Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
PEAK VIEW Secondary school has stepped up its efforts to fight possible closure.
Today, scores of pupils, parents and community members and representatives of NGOs and education unions are expected to picket along Klipfontein Road in Athlone, close to the school.
A task team of community members was set up on Saturday and resolved to ensure the school remained open.
Peak View is one of the 27 schools across the province that Education MEC Donald Grant has notified he intends to close. Most of the schools facing closure are small primary schools in rural areas.
More than 4 000 pupils could be affected.
Grant based his recommendation that Peak View be closed on its:
l Poor matric results over a number of years. The pass rate plunged from 66.7 percent in 2008 to 18.9 percent last year.
l Declining academic performance in all grades.
l A large number of pupils (66 percent) coming from outside the community.
l A low pass rate throughout in English as first language.
School principal Oswald de Villiers had put in place an important intervention at the school this year – the introduction of Xhosa as first language – which had already led to improved results. De Villiers said the commitment to save the school was “very strong”.
“We are fighting this tooth and nail.”
Frank van der Horst, a community member on the task team, said everyone at the meeting had unanimously objected to the school’s possible closure.
“We regard this as a gross attack on the schools’ of the poor.”
The meeting on Saturday had resolved to:
l Mobilise all schools, churches, mosques and community organisations to oppose the closure of all 27 schools.
l Call on all organisations to prepare their own submissions against the closure of Peak View.
l Call on the public protector and SA Human Rights Commission to defend Peak View Secondary pupils’ right to education.
l Support the Save Our Schools march which is set to take place this Friday in the city centre.
A public hearing is to take place on August 18 at the Bridgetown Community Centre.
Jonty Damsell, principal of Zonnebloem Nest Senior School in Walmer Estate, which is also facing possible closure, said that it too was continuing its fight to remain open. Its public meeting is to take place on August 25 in the school’s hall.
NGO Equal Education had started a petition to call for Zonnebloem Nest to remain open. By late yesterday 212 signatures had been added to the petition.
Reasons given for its possible closure included the high drop-out rate at the school and underperformance in all grades.
Damsell had denied this as a legitimate reason as the school had achieved a 85 percent matric pass rate last year.
Penny Vinjevold, head of the Western Cape Education Department, is expected to brief the media this morning on its plans to place pupils who could be affected by the department’s proposed school closures.