'It will save our children half the time it usually takes them to walk to and from school.'
PARENTS have submitted a memorandum to the Department of Education to enquire why their children were not able to make use of the bicycles that were donated to the Stillwater Intermediate School near Riverton.
Parents said the principal apparently advised them during a meeting that it was “too dangerous” for them to ride the bicycles to and from school.
“It will save our children half the time it usually takes them to walk to and from school.”
The memorandum stated that pupils have not been given access to the tablets and computers that were also donated to the school.
“Pupils were prevented from writing their June exams as punishment for not washing the dishes and cleaning the school. This is not part of their curriculum. Let those employed by the school do their work. It is malpractice to prevent a child from writing exams because they did not wash dishes. These children must be allowed to write their exams, without intimidation.”
Parents also claimed that teachers called their children derogatory names.
“This is psychologically affecting the children. A school must be conducive and enabling environment for pupils. We also demand that the school offers recreational activities.”
Spokesperson for the Department of Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said the circuit manager visited the school at the end of last week to engage with the principal and staff and to address the allegations.
“We can confirm that bicycles were donated to the school in 1996. These bicycles were provided to parents of pupils staying in the Killarny and Romance areas.
“Parents of the pupils who are no longer attending Stillwater Intermediate School, took ownership of the bicycles. No bicycles were provided to pupils staying in the area around the school and in the Phelindaba location.”
He added that transport facilities were being provided for 22 pupils from Riverton, eight pupils from Morris Draai and 11 pupils from Hakahana Farm, by the Department of Education.
“The route from Killarny has been discontinued since early 2018 as these pupils stay within a radius of three kilometres from school.”
Van der Merwe confirmed that Vodacom donated 24 tablets and a server to the school in 2018.
“These tablets were donated solely for the purpose of educators to assist in teaching. The server was never activated by Vodacom and was never used by the school. The tablets are still at school but cannot be used as there is no connectivity. Four tablets are missing, reported stolen and a case was opened.”
He added that the dish washing project was introduced at the school to teach the pupils life skills and instill discipline.
“The school made it a class project to ensure that utensils are cleaned daily by individual classes. This was discussed with parents who had no objection to this project.”
He said no pupil was denied an opportunity to write an examination at the school.
“A novice educator was appointed at the beginning of 2019. Two pupils in one of his groups bunked sessions and as punishment the educator denied them an opportunity to complete an Economic Management Sciences task. The principal addressed the issue with the educator, who in turn will ensure a second opportunity for these pupils to complete the task. This issue was also addressed with the parents.”
He added that only soccer was offered as an extra-mural activity because of a lack of facilities.
Van der Merwe indicated that parents were not aware of the memorandum in question and wanted to discuss its origins at a follow up meeting.
“The school governing body will convene a follow up meeting in due course.”