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Cape Town - Some Western Cape schools are up in arms after the provincial Education Department informed them that pupils who had repeatedly failed Grade 10 by the end of 2012 must progress to Grade 11 as soon as “practically possible”.
Jonavon Rustin, provincial secretary of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union, said the union could not understand why Grade 10 pupils who were repeat failures were going to be moved to Grade 11 in the middle of a term.
He said the union had been inundated with calls from schools who were upset about the decision.
“The decision could create major problems for schools, including a shortage of books in Grade 11 and a need for additional teachers.”
The provincial Education Department has indicated it was following requirements published in the Government Gazette on December 28 which state that a pupil may only be retained once in the Further Education and Training phase (grades 10 to 12).
According to the school governing body of Kuils River Technical High School, the department told the school that last year’s Grade 10 pupils who had failed repeatedly would be promoted to Grade 11 as soon as possible.
“As a school governing body, we are not only disappointed, but aggrieved by this unilateral decision which totally disregards the resource capabilities of schools and the ability of school governing bodies to fund progressions at this late stage,” the school said in a statement.
Wayne Klaasen, deputy chairman of the governing body, said a meeting with parents of Grade 10 pupils would be held.
“We feel there is a lack of communication from the department’s side, and governing bodies are being ignored,” he said.
David Millar, provincial chairman of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA, said the decision could create instability in schools.
“Should the policy be implemented unilaterally, district offices will have to give schools the necessary support in terms of infrastructure and extra staff. You can’t leave it to the school governing body to appoint more teachers.”
Paddy Attwell, spokesman for the department, said it had consulted the national department on the progression of Grade 10 pupils who had failed more than twice, as well as those progressing on appeal. He said the matter had also been discussed thoroughly with district offices.
“We have noted the logistical difficulties of implementing the requirements and we believe it is the most practical way of implementing the legislation if we progress the Grade 10 learners who had failed more than twice or who are progressing following an appeal.”