Cofimvaba parents forced to find teacher for their children

Eastern Cape education department has failed us, say families

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Photo of learners in class
Middle Zolo School learners trying to study on their own in the absence of their teacher. Photo:Manqulo Nyakombi

Fed-up with the Eastern Cape Department of Education, parents of learners at Middle Zolo Senior Secondary School in Cofimvaba, are looking for a science and maths teacher whom they will try to pay themselves.

The parents of learners at the Ngqamakhwe school accuse the department of failing their children for the past 10 years.

The school, built by parents in 1995, has 131 learners from grade 8 to grade 12. The school recorded a 0% pass rate last year - not a single matric learner passed. Teachers said there had been a shortage of teachers for ten years and the department was aware of that.

Parents say the department has failed to remove an unqualified teacher who hardly attends classes and has admitted to them and to the school principal that he does not understand the two subjects. They say they have been asking the department for a maths and science teacher for years.

When GroundUp visited the school in March, learners said the teacher had not been at the school for weeks and Grade 10, 11 and 12 learners were trying to teach themselves the syllabus. In response to questions, department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said then that the teacher was being investigated and could face poor performance charges.

In the meantime, he said, Grade 11 and 12 learners would be sent to a nearby school and the department would provide accommodation and meals.

But Nokwakha Mafanya, chair of the School Governing Body, told GroundUp this week that the teacher was still at the school and nothing had been done to discipline him. She said only grade 12 learners had been moved to another school and grade 11 learners were still at the school.

She said the department was failing the children. “This is the 10th year of begging the department to change this teacher. The school is losing learners and this teacher does not care about his job. He comes late or does not attend school at all. Not so long ago I saw him jumping the school fence because he came to the school very late and the school gate was already closed,” said Mafanya.

She parents had decided to find a new teacher but their challenge was to raise enough money to pay the teacher. Many lived on social grants.

Mafanya said last year the learners had been tutored by a student from the village back for the university holidays. “But that was only for few months,” she said.

The teacher had been hired by the former principal as a temporary teacher nine years ago but had become permanent without the parents being informed. The new principal had complained to the department but nothing had been done.

Mtima confirmed that the teacher was unqualified and said he had been given the prescribed period to improve his qualification. The principal had requested a disciplinary hearing but when officials visited the school the teacher had been absent. Another date was being set for the hearing.

TOPICS:  Education Government

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