Victory for 4 000 pupils in school overcrowding case in Mthatha High Court
PORT ELIZABETH - The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) appeared in the Mthatha High Court on Wednesday where it took up the fight for relief for the learners from four schools in the Eastern Cape, and won.
The high court ordered that the Department of Basic Education provide 65 classrooms to four schools within 90 days, bringing relief for about 4,000 learners who have been squeezed into small, overcrowded classrooms.
The schools are Attwell Madala Senior Secondary School in Mthatha, Enduku Junior Secondary School in eNgcobo, Dudumayo Senior Secondary School in Mqanduli, and Mnceba Senior Secondary School in Ntabankulu.
Learners at the schools are unable to write properly or hear the teachers, who struggle to manage the packed classrooms. Teachers cannot move around the classroom and learners have to mark their own work, the LRC said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Teachers cannot keep track of each student and learners skip school for long periods without being noticed. The overcrowded classrooms also present a health and safety risk to learners, as the overwhelming heat and close proximity of the students creates greater risk of illness," the LRC said.
"The application also sought systemic relief in the form of a directive for the MEC to provide a list within 30 days detailing all overcrowded schools in the Mthatha and Amathole districts, and the production of a plan within 90 days to address the overcrowding in schools on that list.
"The order granted on 18 February 2020 gives the department 21 days to file answering papers in respect of the systemic relief sought," the LRC said.