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MEC visits NC school that was shut down over teacher shortage

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Education MEC Zolile Monakali says that schooling will resume at Garies High School on Wednesday

Education MEC Zolile Monakali. File picture

GARIES High School pupils will return to class on Wednesday after the school governing body (SGB) had closed the school due to a shortage of teachers.

The Northern Cape MEC for Education, Zolile Monakali, paid a visit to the school on Tuesday after he received a complaint from the SGB regarding the matter.

“The educators and the SGB have informed us that there is a shortage of educators. We indicated to them that educators are given to schools based on the educator and learner ratio. The school has 227 learners and it qualifies for eight educators. We already had an additional educator, which made it nine educators. However, after engaging the SGB, we agreed to provide them with two additional educators in order for teaching to continue,” said Monakali.

The MEC added that the challenges of staff shortages at the girls’ and boys’ hostels will also be addressed.

“The SGB indicated that the boys’ and girls’ hostels only have six staff members for both hostels. We agreed to extend the contracts of the general assistants that were employed as an education initiative until the end of the year, so they can give assistance to the hostels and make sure that the hostels are inhabitable,” he said.

Monakali added that it was imperative that lost learning time is made up.

“The loss of schooling is a great concern. Learners have lost 11 days of schooling from March 29, 2021. We did engage with the SGB and the school management team that they must ensure that the lost time is caught up. They will have to have additional classes and holiday or weekend classes in order to catch up with the curriculum.”

He said further that the quantile level of the school is another matter that the department will address.

“This is a former Model C school. The parents indicated that they are living in a poor community and are unemployed. They indicated that the effects of Covid-19 have increased unemployment. The school is currently a quantile five. The department will ensure that the department at a national level addresses the issue. The department at the provincial level must be in contact with the national office to ensure that the schools are placed at the correct quantile. Parents are currently saying that they are unemployed and cannot afford the school. We will relook at this matter. However, the main focus is that learners must return to school as from tomorrow (Wednesday),” Monakali said.