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Dept resolves school ‘transfer’ row

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The pupils were transferred to Delportshoop due to a shortage of Afrikaans teachers at Dikgatlong

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TEACHING and learning has returned to normal at Dikgatlong High School in Delportshoop following the appointment of eight additional teachers.

A stand-off between parents at the English-speaking Dikgatlong High School and the nearby Afrikaans-speaking Delportshoop Combined School, regarding the transfer of 106 Afrikaans-speaking pupils to Delportshoop, brought schooling to a halt at Dikgatlong.

The pupils were transferred to Delportshoop due to a shortage of Afrikaans teachers at Dikgatlong.

Eight Afrikaans teachers started teaching at Dikgatlong yesterday after the school had been without Afrikaans teachers for the past eight years.

Schooling at both schools had been halted for the previous two weeks after parents from the two schools were involved in a row over the transfer of the pupils.

Parents from Dikgatlong had slammed the Department of Education for not appointing additional Afrikaans teachers at the school and for forcing their children to be attend Delportshoop.

Parents at Delportshoop, meanwhile, also rejected the transfer of the pupils, pointing out that the school was already overcrowded and that the additional pupils would further aggravate the situation.

The Dikgatlong parents said that their children had been forced to attend Delportshoop for the past eight years as the department had refused to appoint additional Afrikaans teachers, even though there were empty classrooms at Dikgatlong.

The parents said yesterday that they were relieved that the situation had now been resolved, but added that it could have been avoided all together.

“We are happy that this matter has been resolved and that our children can finish their schooling here at Dikgatlong. This entire situation could have been avoided if the department had appointed the additional teachers years ago.

“We do not know where they suddenly found the teachers as they said in the past that they did not have a budget for the appointment of new teachers. This is an indication that we were not taken seriously in the past and that the department waited for the issue to reach boiling point before they intervened.

“Our children are the ones who had to suffer as they have lost out on many weeks of school work. They have not had class since schools opened for the new academic year. This was unnecessary pressure.”

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said that the department had engaged with the community to find a solution to the problem.

“The Northern Cape Department of Education has explored all avenues to resolve the disruptions in education at Dikgatlong High School and Delportshoop Combined School. We have been engaging the community throughout last week to find possible solutions.

“We have resolved and agreed to fully implement the curriculum at Dikgatlong High School to accommodate the Afrikaans pupils. This means that no pupil will be required to transfer schools as they had to do in the past.

“We have engaged the schooling community and we can confirm that the situation is back to normal. A recovery plan will be immediately implemented to ensure that the pupils’ school work is on par and that these disruptions won’t negatively affect the academic performance of the pupils,” said Van der Merwe.