Parents shut down Khayelitsha school over 84 unplaced Grade 8 pupils
KHAYELITSHA residents have shut down a local high school after scores of Grade 8 pupils were not placed; this is despite the school having a vacant classroom with tables and chairs.
Yesterday frustrated parents went to Usasazo Secondary School to confront the principal about the delays in placing 38 pupils who had applied for placement last year, already. Upon arrival, they were informed that the principal was not in. The group of parents then decided to disrupt lessons, ordering teachers to stop lessons until the matter is resolved.
Siphosethu Runqu, the organiser of the shutdown, said the problem started on the day of the reopening of schools when 84 pupils were rejected due to the school being full.
Upon research and engagement with the principal, the parents discovered that there was a vacant classroom that had tables and chairs which could be suitable for teaching.
However, the principal said he did not have enough staff to teach the extra class.
“The principal complained that his staff had been decreased and had not been replaced by the department. We demanded that those classes accommodate the 84 pupils because these children cannot be home this year. They applied last year, and therefore should be placed,” said Runqu.
Runqu said they had meetings with Western Cape Education Department (WCED) officials who then promised to equip the school with mobile classrooms, more chairs and two additional teachers.
Three weeks later, there had been no communication, nor were the promises fulfilled, Runqu said.
“We decided with the principal that the mobile classrooms should be on hold, as there is no space and that was communicated to the department by the principal via email,” he said.
Of the 84 children on the list, only 38 remain as others have found schools and others were forced to migrate to other provinces.
“We will take the remaining children daily to that classroom and there will be no lessons for the rest of the school until these children are also placed in the class. The department must act fast,” said Runqu.
WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond confirmed that the school does have an empty classroom and is willing to take additional Grade 8 learners, but said it required an additional post.
“All schools submitted requests for additional posts recently, which is currently being reviewed by the HOD and is expected to be communicated to schools later this week.
“We appeal to the community to be patient while we await confirmation on the approval of this request. Disrupting the learning of others and placing learners and educators at risk is not the answer. While we understand that they want their children in the school, we cannot condone disruptive behaviour of this kind,” she said.