Several West Rand schools dens of iniquity

Drugs, Satanism, gangsterism and teenage pregnancy are the root cause of poor performance in four secondary schools on the West Rand.

This is according to an intensive study conducted by the Gauteng portfolio committee on education, under Pat Chueu, into the performance of high schools across the West Rand, presented in the Gauteng legislature on Tuesday.

Pregnancies recorded at KwaZulu-Natal schools last year are expected to top 13 000.

Chueu’s report formed part of the Bua Le Sechaba Campaign – a “listening campaign” which is aimed at facilitating engagement between the legislature and the public.

The initial consultation was conducted in July 2010 and the last was in September last year. The committee identified four schools where reports of drug abuse and ill-discipline were rampant. The committee found that in Badirile Secondary School in Khutsong, Carletonville, schoolgirls were becoming pregnant while in Grade 9.

The same school also had an increasing number of pupils practising Satanism.

The other three schools – Kagiso Secondary, Simunye Secondary and Thuto Lehakwe Secondary – reported increasing incidents of of drug abuse and vandalism.

The committee also told the legislature that pupils were still travelling long distances to school, and others were barred from attending schools near their homes because the medium of instructions was Afrikaans.

In some of the schools, Chueu said, parents of underprivileged children were forced to produce their pay slips as an admission requirement for their children.

Chueu also indicated that corporal punishment was being practised in Badirile and Sedimosang Primary School.

While the problems of eroding infrastructure in West Rand schools seem to be common in these schools, Chueu pointed out that vandalism and drugs were rife at Kagiso Secondary.

“Learners have difficulty in accessing schools that offer their home languages as a medium of instruction. Many schools in the region have Afrikaans as a medium of instruction and learners have to travel long distances in unsafe vehicles. It was also reported that school governing body meetings were conducted in Afrikaans only,” Chueu reported.

Meyerton Primary School was pointed out as a school which demands pay slips from parents of the nearby Sicelo informal settlement.

Despite the challenges, Badirile Secondary School had a 78.8 percent matric pass rate last year. Thuto Lehakwe Secondary achieved a 64.4 percent pass rate and Simunye Secondary achieved 65.8 percent. But Kagiso Secondary School fared dismally with a pass rate of 44.4 percent.