Johannesburg - “Attention: Parents. There is no Grade 9 at this school for 2015.”
This was the message posted on a pillar outside Fontanus Comprehensive Secondary School in Emndeni, Soweto.
The school has broken windows, roof damage, and some classrooms without desks and blackboards.
The first day of class saw only a little more than half the school population in attendance, according to a teacher.
The school appears to be in a state of chaos as teachers, who have been ordered by administrators not to speak to the media, told The Star the school had not had a principal in years.
“There is a new acting principal every few weeks,” said a member of staff, who could not speak on the record because of the gag order.
As the school continues to flounder, the matric pass rate sank to 37 percent last year.
Pupils blame the teachers.
One of the pupils, Mandla Baloyi, arrived at the school on Wednesday morning to ask for a transfer from what he said was a “useless” school.
The Grade 11 pupil said teachers were “too playful”, sometimes choosing to do their jobs, and other days not coming in.
Teachers blame the pupils and a lack of resources.
The matrics of 2013, in particular, were pointed out as a troublesome group who often harassed teachers and damaged school property.
The teachers say the dilapidated state of the school has not helped matters.
However, no one at the school was willing or able to explain the notice that said the entire Grade 9 class had been phased out for the year.
Congress of South African Students regional chairman for Joburg, Tebogo Magafane, visited the school on Wednesday morning and was shocked by its condition. He said his organisation was focused on Fontanus to help instil discipline among teachers and pupils.
He said that from what he had learnt, the parents of the pupils were apathetic about their children’s education.
Magafane promised weekly programmes and a rally later this month to help the school.
The Department of Education failed to respond to queries at the time of publication.