‘It is our future they are playing with’

Pupils from Khulani High School, in Langa, protested last Thursday and on Tuesday, this week, demanding that the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) provide them with maths and physical science teachers.

The Grades 10 to 12 pupils marched to the department’s Maitland offices, temporarily disrupting classes. According to pupils, the school has been without the teachers since the beginning of the year, and they are now worried about their lessons.

The pupils said numerous meetings had been held between them and their principal to try to resolve the matter – but these had not been fruitful.

When Vukani arrived at the school, a few pupils were standing outside.

Pupil Nondwe Matshebelele, said: “We went to the police station first, to seek (permission) to march. To be without teachers is bad. Imagine the Grade 12s without such crucial teachers. The department is surely expecting good results from us. We are also expecting them to deliver all the necessities for all the schools,” she said.

Another pupil, Asive Jenda, said the pupils would continue to protest until teachers were available. She said the department promised to provide them with the teachers, but she doubted the promise would be kept.

“Last year we had to protest just like this year. They delivered but brought a temporary solution to the matter. This is not right. It is our future they are playing with. When we get to their offices, they always talk nicely to brush us off. But if they are not delivering now, we will continue to protest,” she said.

Asive said they had written numerous letters to the department but had received no response. She said some parents had also written to the department to express their concerns over the future of the pupils.

School governing body chairperson Nkosinathi Siboko said there had been no problem at the school until the start of the new school term.

He said it was worrying that pupils did not have teachers. “We will meet as parents and see what to do. But it is unfair that our children can stay without teachers,” said Mr Siboko.

He called on parents to support their children in their fight for good education, adding that it was important for parents to visit the school to see how their children were performing.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson, for Education MEC Debbie Schafer, said the department was resolving the matter.

“They demanded a teacher for mathematics and physical science teachers for Grades 10 to 12. District officials initially discussed the issue with a delegation of five pupils, who were later joined by two members of Equal Education. The district officials arranged a contract appointment and will strive to make the appointment this week,” she said.

Ms Shelver said the school had teachers in excess of requirements, but they could not teach the two subjects in Grades 10 to 12. She said the district would work with the school to provide a catch-up programme for the pupils on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and on Saturday mornings.

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