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Durban - Grade 8 and 9 pupils at a Hammarsdale school have been told to stay at home until the end of the year, so as not to disturb the matric exams.
The mother of a Grade 8 pupil at Chief Luthaye High School in Mpumalanga township told the Daily News that her daughter and other pupils had been instructed to go home on Friday and not return until December 4.
“My child is at home alone because I’m working. I’m concerned because I’m a single parent and it’s not safe,” she said.
She said her daughter had completed her exams on Friday, but was not sure whether the syllabus had been completed.
Grade 10 and 11 pupils have been allowed to remain at school.
“My daughter is bored at home and misses her friends. It’s wrong and I am worried.”
The DA’s education spokesman for KwaZulu-Natal, Tom Stokes, said the party was investigating reports about the high school.
“According to the legislation, KZN schools must remain open 198 days per annum, and have an obligation to provide learners with 1 850 teacher hours.
“As it is, learners attending outlying schools receive less tuition time than those in urban schools due to factors such as transport,” he said.
Stokes said there was no justification for a school to close before the end of term and it was not the role of a principal to close a school ahead of time.
The head of department in the Department of Education, Nkosinathi Sishi, said he had spoken to the district director who said that the circuit manager had confirmed that Grade 8 pupils were away from school. He could not confirm whether Grade 9s were also not at school at this stage.
Sishi said the pupils would be instructed to return to school. “We’ve had this problem in the past in overpopulated schools. There is no room during the matric exams.”
Sishi explained that the exam rules stipulated that there should be 30 matric pupils in a class when writing, and the schools were forced to use the classrooms usually used by other grades, leaving those pupils without classrooms.
He said the policy had been reviewed and if there were more than 30 matric pupils in an exam class, the school had to assign an extra invigilator rather than use more classrooms.
He said action would be taken against the principal and lost school time would have to be made up. “There is no tolerance for this sort of thing.”