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#RacismAtPMBGHS: Schoolgirl racism galvanises teacher unions

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DURBAN - ENRAGED by a racist remark at Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School, teachers’ unions are now calling for government to fast-track the revamping of rural schools to match the so-called Model C schools.

This stance by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and the National Teachers’ Union (Natu) was triggered by a Grade 11 pupil who used the K-word when other pupils incorrectly pronounced her name. The pupil has since been suspended by the Department of Education.

Sadtu’s KwaZulu-Natal secretary, Nomarashiya Caluza, said: “We can’t afford to have a situation where some people are discriminated against, especially young pupils.

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The incident brings up the issue that discrimination is alive and well in South African schools. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

“That’s why we proposed to the Department of Education to make history compulsory so that pupils will know (how far we have come as a country). Government must see the danger of not implementing this decision.”

They wanted to see action taken against the pupil.

Nomarashiya Caluza, Sadtu's KZN secretary, called for stern action to be taken on the pupil. File Picture: ANA Pictures

“One of the reasons other communities undermine us is that we are taking our children away from home (to go to decent schools),” said Allen Thompson, Natu’s deputy president.

He said the Department of Education had to find a way of improving township and rural schools, which would do away with the need for pupils togo to Model-C schools.

“That’s why our children are victims. We need to build our own capacity so that other races also come to township schools.

“Any person who needs to get educated must get it as close as possible to his or her home,” said Thompson.

Allen Thompson, deputy president of teacher union Natu. File Picture: ANA Pictures

The ANC Youth League protested outside the school on Friday, forcing the writing of exams to be postponed. The league is calling for the pupil to be expelled and be barred from writing exams pending an investigation into her conduct.

“But we also want government to prioritise building schools in townships so that we don’t have children opting to go to these Model C schools,” said league spokesperson Njabulo Mtolo.

Pietermaritzburg Girls High School at the centre of latest race storm. File picture: Facebook

Like Natu, the ANCYL is calling on the department to implement a rotation system for teachers.

“Teachers must rotate schools so that there is an exchange of knowledge. We want the highly qualified and experienced teachers from Model Cs to come to township schools,” said Mtolo.

Thompson agreed: “We say we want see a situation where teachers from former Model C schools come to teach in township schools because those are teachers of drama and music which are not available in our township schools.”

@LunganiZungu

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