Cape Town - 120524 - ACJ Phakade Primary School, where scholars had no desks or chairs and were sitting on the classroom floor, received dozens of new desks and chairs for learners. Reporter: Lynnette Johns Photographer: David Ritchie

Hundreds of primary school pupils at ACJ Phakade Primary had reason to celebrate on Thursday when their long-awaited desks were delivered.

The children have been sitting on the floor for lessons because of a shortage of desks. Five volunteer teachers at the Strand school also heard they would have their salaries back-dated to April 1, while 800 pupils will be transferred to a new school site to make space.

The school is hugely overcrowded and the prefab buildings, which house most of the children, are falling apart.

This month the Cape Argus reported that pupils at ACJ Phakade Primary were using empty ice cream containers as tables, while others had to kneel or crouch to write.

The school had been trying since January to get new furniture.

On Thursday, 150 desks, along with chairs, were delivered and on Friday the rest are expected to be dropped off.

The school, which has 12 Grade 1 classes, also had a shortage of teachers and five volunteers have had to teach some classes.

Asibabalwe Flatela, a Grade 2 pupil, said he was “very, very happy” to be able to sit at a desk instead of lying on the floor to write.

Deputy principal Mdoda Mciteka said they were disappointed that it had taken an article in the Cape Argus for the department to take action.

“I am glad, though, that something has been done. The children have seats and desks for proper learning, even though we had to wait so long,” Mciteka said.

Education spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said they were pleased the desks and chairs had been delivered.

“The department has also arranged that the five volunteer educators, who are all qualified, will be paid a salary from April 1 to the end of the second term.”

The student governing body is identifying pupils to be transferred.

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Cape Argus