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Outcry over possible closure of senior phase at city school

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The Northern Cape Department of Education says that a decision has not yet been taken regarding the possible migration of Grade 8 and 9 pupils from Zingisa Intermediate School in Kimberley.

PARENTS are strongly objecting to the proposal to close down the senior phase of Zingisa Intermediate School in Kimberley, which they believe is being done without consultation.

One of the parents, Mthuthuzeli Matshoba, stated that letters were sent out last week informing them that the senior phase would be closed down in 2022.

“The letter implies that the Department of Education has already taken a decision. The department failed to provide adequate reasons as to why the senior phase will be closed. We want to know what the motive is and how the vacant classrooms will be utilised,” Matshoba said.

“Parents were not adequately consulted and we wonder if the trade unions were informed.”

He pointed out that if the decision was final, then parents would have to “scramble around” to find alternative schools for their children next year.

“The online admissions for Grade 8 have already closed and it is always a struggle to find suitable placements.

“If the closure has not been finalised, the letters should be withdrawn.

“Zingisa Intermediate School has a history that cannot be easily erased. It is one of the oldest schools in Kimberley with a rich history that has produced well-known scholars.”

Mathsoba added that the closure would not only be a “travesty” for Xhosa-speaking pupils but also for the history of the city and the legacy of the school.

“The future of pupils and educators have not been taken into consideration.”

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said yesterday that a decision had not yet been taken regarding the possible migration of Grade 8 and 9 pupils from Zingisa Intermediate School in Kimberley.

“According to the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996, primary schools start from Grade 1 to 7 and high schools cover grades 8 to 12. The rationale therefore for this kind of alignment of schools is that it is more conducive for learning, teaching, discipline and development of learners that they need to be grouped in a manner that is more age-appropriate,” said Van Der Merwe.

He explained that because Grade 8 and 9 pupils were located at Zingisa Primary School, they did not have the opportunity to experience the culture, ethos and responsibility of being at a high school.

“This also causes disciplinary problems as younger learners are forced to share the playground with older learners.

“This process is, however, not an instant procedure, as various conditions have to be met and several consultations with affected parties have to unfold.”

Van der Merwe added that the department was currently busy with consultative engagements.

“The district office explicitly urged all stakeholders of the school community who are opposed to the migration of the Grade 8 and 9 learners to make submissions to the head of the department and member of the executive council (MEC) for consideration. We encourage stakeholders to participate in this process.”

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