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Pupils protest over councillor teacher

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Pupils at Rietvale High School burnt tyres outside the school on Friday and are refusing to attend classes.

Pupils at Rietvale High School in Ritchie burnt tyres outside the school on Friday and are refusing to attend classes. Picture: Supplied

PUPILS at Rietvale High School in Ritchie burnt tyres outside the school on Friday and are refusing to attend classes as they feel ill-prepared for the upcoming exams.

A Grade 12 pupil stated that there were no History and Maths Literacy educators for Grade 10, 11 and 12.

“We are not prepared for the June exams and will fail because we are not in a position to learn the syllabus on our own. Most of the teachers stay in Kimberley and it is not possible for us to enrol for extra classes.”

Pupils added that the one teacher was a councillor who was busy with political work while the other teacher did not offer them lessons.

Spokesperson for the Department of Education Geoffrey van der Merwe confirmed that one of the educators in question was elected as a ward councillor during the 2021 local government elections.

“He tendered his resignation as an educator at the end of December 2021. He however returned during the second term of the 2022 school academic year and informed the principal that he would like to return back to the school, as he was planning to resign as a ward councillor. He was granted permission to volunteer without expectation of payment at the school whilst processing his resignation as councillor.”

He stated that the educator was called in by the management of the school on May 10 to produce proof that he was no longer a councillor.

“He was also requested that in the absence of any proof, he would no longer be allowed to volunteer at the school.”

Van der Merwe indicated that the school management, school governing body and circuit manager met with the concerned community members on Friday.

“It was resolved that the educator be granted another week to volunteer and provide proof of his resignation as councillor.”

He pointed out that there was no shortage of educators except for the above mentioned post.

“The school is struggling to recruit a suitable candidate for the post. The department is committed to resolve the capacity gap at the school by ensuring an appropriate educator is speedily appointed.”

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