Home News Pupils protest over no textbooks

Pupils protest over no textbooks


A delegation comprising of the Department of Education and the SAPS will visit the school

Pictures: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

A DELEGATION from the Northern Cape Department of Education will visit Reakantswe Intermediate School in Windsorton today after pupils set fire to tyres in the schoolyard out of frustration as they do not have Afrikaans medium textbooks, while there is also a shortage of Afrikaans teachers at the school.

Parents from the school have also lashed out at police, who they claim fired warning shots on the school grounds on Wednesday to disperse unruly pupils.

“The school was dismissed and parents are concerned that these continual disruptions will negatively impact on the matric pupils. We do not know if our children are safe … if they are being fired at by the police.”

Windsorton ward councillor Thomas Saul said that the situation was exacerbated by the fact that pupils who were attending school in Warrenton had returned to Reakantswe Intermediate School and that pupils were now also fighting amongst themselves.

“The pupils from Kutlwano, Hebron Park and Holpan are also fighting amongst each other. We have been pleading with the MEC for Education to come and diffuse the racial tension at the school and incidents of gangsterism, as it appears that it is becoming worse,” said parents.

“The pupils went to Warrenton after the Afrikaans medium school was demolished in Windsorton. However, they have returned to Windsorton as they do not have money for transport. These pupils have not received a single textbook while there are only four Afrikaans teachers to teach all the subjects in Grade 8 to 12,” Saul stated.

He said that he was also concerned that pupils are staying away from classes because of the problems at the school.

“This is a very serious situation. Our children are suffering and we can’t afford to allow them to sit at home. If the department had brought in additional teachers and ensured that there were sufficient resources at the school, we would not be where we are today.”

Spokesperson for the Northern Cape MEC for Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said that the department was aware of simmering racial tensions in the community that were spilling over into the school.

“This is the cause of infighting amongst the pupils. The necessary action will be taken by the department to deal with this matter decisively. We will not tolerate any form of ill-discipline on our school premises, which places the lives of innocent pupils at risk,” said Van der Merwe.

He explained that over the past three years Reakantswe Intermediate School had seen an increase in the number of pupils enrolled at the school who had transferred from Warrenton High School.

“Parents opted to enrol their children at Reakantswe due to the high cost involved in travelling (to Warrenton High School). In return, it created certain pressures at the school that relate to shortages of textbooks and an Afrikaans teacher.”

Van der Merwe added that the a meeting was convened by the ward councillor with the school community yesterday.

“A delegation comprising of the Department of Education and the SAPS will visit the school today,” added Van der Merwe.

“To curb the loss of valuable learning and teaching time, copies of the outstanding titles were made so that learning and teaching can continue.”

Van der Merwe also requested parents to send their children to school today.

“We are attending to their concerns.Therefore, the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, has indicated that she will visit the school on Monday to resolve the challenges that the school is facing.”