Learners have to stand during lessons

Pietermaritzburg school needs 25 more classrooms, says principal

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Photo of people sitting in meeting
Parents of children who have been refused places at overcrowded Emzanweni High School demanded answers at a meeting this week. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

Learners at Emzanweni High School in Elandskop in Pietermaritzburg are being taught standing up because their classrooms are overcrowded.

The school, which has 1,880 learners, needs 25 additional classrooms, 15 additional teachers and more desks, says principal Nhlanhla Ngubane.

Ngubane says the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education has promised five additional teachers and four prefab classrooms but this is not adequate.

The school has six pit toilets used by the boys and 11 for girls, “which are not enough,” says the chair of the School Governing Body, Bheki Nkabini.

About 50 grade 8 learners have been turned away from the school and on Monday parents attended a meeting at the school, demanding answers. Since last week parents have been coming to the school to try to enrol their children.

Ngubane says the school has been asking for more classrooms since 2013. “We have learners standing in classes. Last year we were forced to take our learners to a neighbouring school. They are learners of Emzanweni but they attended their classes at Mzimba primary school,” said Ngubane.

“The department has agreed to provide us with four prefabs. The school needs 25 classes. The four prefabs will not make any difference. We need more than 15 teachers. The department has agreed to give us five teachers, which will not help that much,” said Ngubane.

GroundUp saw some of the learners standing in their classrooms while they were being taught. Classrooms had more than 50 learners and there was a shortage of desks.

“We are willing to buy chairs or desks ourselves,” said Sibongile Ngcobo, one of the parents.

“My child has not been enrolled. All we want is for our children to study. If it means the children have to carry chairs to classrooms, we support that. We can even agree that they study under trees,” said Ngcobo.

In 2017 the school recorded a 98.4% matric pass rate and last year 97.7%.

“This school has been producing good matric results. It is the school that we trust as parents. We don’t want them to go to other schools. We are appealing to the department to come to our rescue. It’s been six years and the department has done nothing,” said another parent.

Msunduzi municipality mayor Themba Njilo, who attended the school meeting, said every child deserved education. “The frustrations of the parents are clear. In all of the problems raised, the department of Education should account. Every child should be in school,” said Njilo.

Zandile Sibisi, who attended the meeting from the Department of Education, promised the parents that their children would be enrolled. She said she supported the parents and the department would take action.

TOPICS:  Education

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Dear Editor

When politicians visit communities yup persuade people to vote they make all kinds promises which are never fulfilled, then they persuade people to relocate to the main cities knowing all too well that the existing infrastructures are inadequate to support this influx - would the ruling party please explain why they continually lie to their constituents? We the people need an answer, our children need an education!

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