Parents block school gates, demanding more teachers

But department says no shortage was reported

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Photo of people outside gate
Parents blocked the gates of Solomon Qatyana Primary School in Strand, demanding more teachers. Photo: Velani Ludidi

Parents blocked the gates of Solomon Qatyana Primary School in Strand on Monday, preventing learners and teachers from entering. They demanded that two vacant teacher posts be filled by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).

But the WCED said the teacher shortage had not been reported.

Learners were sent home.

“There are two classes without teachers in the school and through the school governing body (SGB) we have been asking the department to hire teachers,” said parent Nolukhanyo Potelwa.

Potelwa said after a parents’ meeting last week it had been decided to block the school’s gates to get attention from the department. “Parents took a day off from work to be here. The department is aware of the situation, but they are not serious about dealing with it.”

SGB member Amanda Venkile said they had exhausted all available options to get the posts filled. “We used the SGB budget to pay teachers for a few months last term, but the money was not enough.”

Venkile said the vacant posts included mathematics and social science. “Mathematics is one of the most important subjects and if we do not get the teacher soon, our children will be badly affected.”

Grade seven learner Azakhile said during mathematics period learners just sat. “We do nothing and play. I want to be a pilot when I grow up and I need mathematics to fulfil my dream.”

The school principal said he was not allowed to speak to the media and asked that all inquiries be sent to the department.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for the MEC for education in the Western Cape, said: “Our officials only recently became aware of the situation at the school as the acting principal reportedly did not apply for extra teaching posts. All available teaching posts have already been allocated to schools that applied for them.”

She said a district official had met the acting principal on Friday to discuss solutions, including the restructuring of the school timetable.

Shelver said the acting principal had confirmed that there were no grades without teachers. “There were two classes where some of the subjects were not officially taught. According to him, the matter could be addressed after the timetable was adjusted.”


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