Uxolo pupils demand more teachers

PHIRI CAWE

Learning and teaching at Uxolo High School in Khayelitsha resumed on Monday February 15, after protesting pupils forced the school to shut down last week.

The pupils were angry that there were no teachers for certain classes during the first four weeks of the term.

They boycotted classes from Tuesday February 9 until Friday February 12, demanding teachers from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).They said they felt excluded.

The school has no Life Sciences teacher for Grades 10, 11 and 12, no Mathematical Literacy teacher for Grades 8 and 10, no Mathematics teacher for Grade 10, and no Natural Sciences teacher for Grade 8.

When Vukani visited the school on Friday February 12, teachers were standing outside the school but there were no pupils around.

Pupils took the WCED to task after being frustrated that no progress was being made to appoint teachers.

School teachers who spoke to Vukani appealed to the department to intervene.

One of the teachers, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, said it was the department’s prerogative to provide teachers.

He said he was worried because class time was being wasted and he was particularly concerned about the Grade 12 pupils.

“This is not good at all. Children come at 8am and after that are gone to the department (in Cape Town last week). There’s nothing that the teachers can do,” he said.

He said he sympathises with the pupils and parents, but there was nothing the school could do.

“This should have been avoided or we could avoid the embarrassment of seeing pupils fail, especially the Grade 12s. We are losing time to teach and it seems we will lose out more time. These children have vowed not to stop until teachers are brought in,” he said.

One pupil, who identified herself as Amanda Ndamoyi said they vowed not to attend the school until teachers were brought to their school.

She said as pupils they had taken a decision to approach the department. She said after the department had listened to them, they decided to go back to classes. She said they had been provided with some teachers.

Another pupil, Ayanda Ziza said they were not sure whether the teachers were back for good. “It seems they have not been paid and there are threats that they might leave. But we are back until further notice. Should they leave, we will be forced to protest again,” she said.

Paddy Attwell, director of communication for the Western Cape Education Department, has confirmed that teaching has resumed at the school after two teaching posts were approved.

“We can confirm that the department has approved two teaching posts for Uxolo. We hope to finalise appointments today. (Thursday, February 18),” he said.

Mr Attwell said the school already has three extra teachers who do not offer the subjects that the pupils want. The new teachers will meet this need.

“Our district office will work with the school to provide a catch-up programme for the pupils concerned. Meanwhile, the department will continue to work with schools and teachers in excess of requirements to ensure that we can redeploy them where their services are most needed,” he said.