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NC school fails to open its doors

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“The school had approached Kumba Mine for assistance last year as there were major cracks in the double-storey school building.”

AT LEAST one school in the Northern Cape failed to open its doors yesterday and teachers and pupils were sent home for a week after the school building was declared unsafe in October last year already.

A parent from Anderson Primary School in Griquatown, which accommodates between 800 to 900 pupils, said yesterday that his Grade R daughter was due to start her first day at the school. “She was so excited – only to be told that the school will only start next week after the Department of Education has provided mobile classes for the pupils.”

The parent said the school had approached Kumba Mine for assistance last year as there were major cracks in the double-storey school building.

“They sent out their engineers to do an evaluation of the building and they indicated that the older part of the building was unsafe for use and needed to be evacuated.”

According to the parent, the pupils were moved to nearby churches and other buildings, where they wrote their end-of-year exams.

“Meetings were held with the Department of Education and the mine and the latter offered to erect mobile classrooms at the school during the December holidays. According to the department official who was present at the meeting, the correct procedures and protocols needed to be followed so nothing was done.”

The parent said that when the pupils arrived at the school yesterday, there was nowhere for them to be accommodated.

“A meeting was held with officials from the MEC’s office and they promised that nine mobile classrooms would be provided by the end of this week and a further eight next week.”

In the meantime the pupils and officials were told to stay at home until Monday.

“My daughter was so disappointed when she heard that she couldn’t start school.”

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said yesterday that the situation at Anderson Primary was very unfortunate, as the department had experienced a delay in the delivery of mobile classrooms needed by the school.

“The department has indicated that the mobile classrooms will be delivered by the end of the week,” he said.

At a press conference earlier this week on the Province’s school readiness, it was pointed out that the Department of Education was busy with a verification process regarding the number of mobile classrooms at schools.

“We need to find out how many schools have mobile classrooms, what type of facilities these are, if they are being used and for what purposes. As soon as we receive this information we will be able to determine where mobile classrooms are needed and where they can be sourced from,” an official stated at the time.

She added that the department would focus on providing mobile classrooms to high priority schools, for example in Delportshoop, West End Primary, Kimberley Boys’ High School and Vooruitsig School.”

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