The ten-year-old boy’s mother on Wednesday opted to keep him at home instead of allowing him to return to school, after the child attempted to commit suicide by drinking prescription medication, as well as jumping in front of a train.
He failed Grade 3 last year.
The boy was also forced to repeat grade R, at the same school.
His mother on Wednesday said that she had tried in vain to interact with the Northern Cape Department of Education about a possible promotion for her son, claiming that she was instead ignored and shunned, being sent from pillar to post.
She on Wednesday said that her son lost his father during 2018, and had since become extremely depressed, while he also attempted to take his own life after hearing that he failed Grade 3.
“Not only did I find my son after he had taken some of my prescription medicine, but I found him on the train tracks in Kimberley, close to our home, where I believe he was also about to commit suicide,” the woman said.
The mother said she on Wednesday decided to place the boy in a new school, after he was deemed “not academically fit to continue to Grade 4” and the school refused to consider the fact that his father had died last year and the emotional effect this had on the child.
“I had to pay a large amount of money at the new school but I could not stand having him ridiculed and laughed at by other pupils. He is already suicidal and I do not know what would have happened if he was forced to repeat Grade 3, after also having to repeat Grade R at the same school.
NCDoE spokesperson, Lehuma Ntuane, on Wednesday stated that in terms of the national policy on promotion requirement, a pupil may remain in a phase for at least four years if such a pupil does not meet the minimum requirements for promotion to the next phase.
The minimum requirement that a learner must meet in Grades 1 for 3 (foundation phase) are: adequate achievement (Level 4) in one official language at Home Language level, moderate achievement (Level 3) in the second required official language at First Additional Language level and moderate achievement (Level 3) in Mathematics.
Ntuane did, however, add that the NCDoE was still investigating the matter of the concerned pupil and that a detailed response would be made available in due course.
* If you need help, please contact South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) at 0800 567 567. To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm from Monday to Sunday, call 011 234 4837.
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