File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Push for schools to merge to open way for community projects

By Francesca Villette Time of article published Jan 16, 2019

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Cape Town – Parents of pupils in the town of Redelinghuys in Bergrivier Local Municipality have called for the town’s only two schools, Redelinghuys Primary School and Laerskool Redelinghuys, to be merged so that the latter may be used for community projects.

Redelinghuys Primary accommodated pupils from predominantly poorer households, while Laerskool Redelinghuys catered for children from Cape Town, resident Elize Jacobs said.

There were 51 pupils at Laerskool Redelinghuys and 174 at Redelinghuys Primary.

Jacobs said for more than a decade residents had been asking the provincial education department to consider closing Laerskool Redelinghuys so that its infrastructure could be used for much-needed community events, as pupil numbers there had dwindled.

“It’s not necessary to keep both schools open. Most of the children who attend the laerskool stay at the hostel as they are from Cape Town. 

"Residents and parents feel it would benefit them if the building could be ours to use as a community hall,” Jacobs said. 

The town is situated about 160km north of Cape Town.

The president of the Rural and Farmworkers’ Development Organisation, Billy Claasen, said keeping both schools open was a waste of money.

However, he had suggested that Redelinghuys Primary, and not Laerskool Redelinghuys, be closed, as the latter had better infrastructure.

Claasen said talks on merging the schools had started in 2001, and it had become frustrating waiting for feedback. “They (provincial education department) need to make a decision to merge,” he said.

Provincial department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said district officials would hold discussions with the two schools regarding a possible merger at the start of 2020.

Regarding the alleged drawn-out process, Hammond said the circuit manager had been in the position only since 2010. “There have been talks (concerning a merger) over the years. However, it was decided not to proceed following discussions with the SGBs (school governing bodies),” she said.

“It is proposed that all the pupils will be hosted at Laerskool Redelinghuys. The premises already have an existing hostel, so can accommodate pupils requiring hostel facilities.

“Our systems indicate that there are 51 pupils at the laerskool (26 of whom are in the hostel) and 174 pupils at Redelinghuys (Primary).”

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