Parents slam school plan
A plan to move Grabouw pupils to a Kuils River school for three months angered parents at a meeting with education officials Picture: David Ritchie
Chaos erupted at the end of a meeting between education officials and Grabouw parents last night over a plan to send 240 pupils to a school in Kuils River for three months to alleviate overcrowding at their school.
Furious parents flocked around Western Cape Education Department officials, demanding to be heard, after being told of a plan to move Grade 11 and 12 pupils from Umyezo Wama Apile Combined School in Grabouw to the Cape Teaching and Learning Institute in Kuils River.
WCED district director Bertram Loriston said the department would launch a “catch-up” programme as part of the three-point plan to make up for lost class time during the protests last month about conditions at the school. The plan is for Grade 11 and 12 pupils to be taught at the institute for 10 weeks. They would stay in hostels and return home on weekends.
“By accommodating the pupils at the institute, we will open up space in the school to make other classes smaller,” said Loriston. About eight classrooms would be opened for Grades 8 and 9, identified as having the highest drop-out rate. The plan would later address building a temporary campus and then a permanent school.
Some parents slammed the plan, saying they would refuse to sign the permission forms to allow their children to move. “It feels like racism. We have open spaces, but they don’t build more schools. They lied to us by saying by April 10 there would be mobile classrooms, but where are they,” asked one parent, Xolani Mabaso.
The Grabouw Education Forum’s Thapelo Selepe said the community felt “undermined” by the government making decisions without properly consulting them.
But, some parents and pupils present welcomed the move, claiming that some of those opposed were influenced by their political affiliations.
“We as matrics want to move, but our parents are politically based. It’s not about (Premier Helen) Zille or (President Jacob) Zuma, it’s about our education and future,” said Grade 12 pupil Aphiwe Mdletye.
SA Democratic Teachers’ Union regional secretary Jacques Adams said socio-economic factors would not allow all the pupils to leave their homes for three months. He said some had to look after their siblings while others had children of their own.
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Parents slam school plan