Sizimisele pupils demand teachers

The pupils claimed it has been three weeks since they last had classes.

The teachers allegedly stopped working after they were not paid by the department for two months.

This year, they say, they were only paid in January, but they continued working until about three weeks ago. Head of technical subjects at the school, Thembinkosi Sekabawo, said it was shocking to see the department “gambling with pupils’ future”.

He said the department opted to change the school to a technical institution, but it then failed to provide suppor or appoint appropriate staff.

Mr Sekabawo said the school still has teachers for business, economics and accounting although it did not offer ther subjects.

He accused the department of playing hide and seek instead of solving the problem.

“Why is the Department not addressing this issue? Is it because we are a township school or because we are black people? Does the future of black pupils mean nothing to them?” he asked. “I bet if this was at ‘white school’ it would have been solved long time ago.” Mr Sekabawo said when the principal tried to bring in qualified teachers, the department informed him that he would pay them from his own pocket.

Chairperson of the representative council of learners (RCL), Siphosethu Mafungwa, accused the department of dragging its feet instead of resolving the problem. He said the June exams were around the corner and they should be studying instead of fighting with the department for teachers.

“The Department is depriving us our right to education and they clearly do not wish us as black students to acquire the best education. Having qualified teachers to teach us is not a privilege, but a right that is enshrined in the constitution. The teachers received their January salaries only.

“For the second term they did not receive their salaries at all,” he concluded.

Department of Education spokesperson, Millicent Merton, said the governing body had employed the teachers and paid them a stipend in January.

“Our district office assisted the SGB by paying the teachers’ salaries in February and March from the district’s tutor fund. But the funds were not available immediately at the start of the new financial year in April,” she said. Ms Merton has promised that the department will be able to make the funds available again this week and added that it has approved the appointment of three teachers until the end of the year on contract.

“The Department could not appoint more teachers because the school has five teachers in excess of requirements who cannot teach the technical subjects concerned.

“Our office is in the process of redeploying the five teachers to other schools. And the district officials will work with the school to develop a longer strategic plan on the school’s curriculum and staffing needs,” she concluded.