Cape Town - For more than two months, nearly 17 000 pupils from 54 Northern Cape schools have been unable to attend classes.

The schools had been closed since June 5 when community members began a protest against the state of roads in the Joe Morolong local municipality. Some schools had been set alight and damaged by protesters.

Of the pupils affected, 469 were matric pupils who were expected to begin writing their final exams in less than three months.

The majority of the affected schools were primary schools.

“Community protests in the Joe Morolong local municipality started on June 5. Since the start of the community protests, 54 schools were shut down. The total number of learners affected is 16 455. This number includes 469 Grade 12 learners,” said Sydney Stander, Northern Cape Education Department spokesman.

He said the department had arranged intervention activities for all grades.

Grade 10 to 12 pupils would be expected to complete assessment tasks which would be set by teachers and moderated by subject advisers.

“Afternoon and Saturday classes will be conducted for all subjects. The subject advisers will provide learners with material including winter school notes, examination guidelines, annual teaching plan, previous question papers and telematics CDs.”

He said subject advisers would use community radio to present exam tips, study guides and career guidance.

“The district will work out a plan for motivation of Grade 12 learners.”

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga had condemned the burning of schools.

“Preventing learners from their right to an education and malicious destruction to infrastructure cannot be tolerated,” Motshekga said.

Today a criminal case was expected to be opened at the Kimberly police station by the DA’s Annette Lovemore, shadow minister of basic education, and Safiyia Stanfley, Northern Cape spokesperson on basic education.

They would ask police to investigate “the protesters who are responsible for preventing the children of John Taolo Gaetsewe District from attending school”, said the DA.

The Cape Times was unable to contact community members associated with the Local Road Forum on Sunday.

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Cape Times