‘No road, no school’ protest costs Kuruman pupils a year

2014-09-11 16:41

The Northern Cape “no road, no school” protest will cost about 16 000 pupils a year of learning after a decision was taken that they will repeat their classes in 2015.

The provincial department announced today that matriculants in the Kuruman area will be allowed to write their examinations earlier in 2015 but other pupils will have to redo their grades.

This will mean that plans have been derailed for matriculants who had planned to study further or pursue other plans next year.

With 45 days remaining before matriculants sit for final examinations countrywide, the Northern Cape education department arrived at the decision to end uncertainties following failed bids to convince communities to let their children go back to school.

“(It was decided) that all Grade 12 learners of the affected eight high schools be deregistered and reregistered as part-time learners. This will afford them the opportunity to prepare and write supplementary exams in February and March 2015,” said provincial education spokesperson Sidney Stander.

“All Grade R to Grade 11 learners will be allowed to redo their current grades in 2015, as they have been unable to complete a full academic year in the system.”

Stander said they were at a point where nothing better could be done for Grade 12s.

“We are now at a stage where it is not reasonably possible to provide any help to the 469 Grade 12 learners. There are 45 days left to the start of the final examination. [These matrics] have incomplete assessments and have not been part of a normal teaching and learning process from June 5,” he said.

Pupils were stopped from attending school when they returned from the winter holidays by angry community members demanding tarred roads.

The protest was marked by intimidation and damage to property.

The Northern Cape education department has expressed its “disappointment on the continued infringement on the rights of our children to education by the parents and communities”.

The department said a similar protest in 2012 had “far-reaching consequences on the academic progress of learners”.

Stander said his department had been hard at work trying to convince communities to reopen schools but their desperate requests fell on deaf ears.

“Working together with the provincial government we have since June 5 (the day schools were forced to close doors) consulted broadly with all stakeholders to rescue the situation. In all our attempts, parents have consistently said ‘no tarred road, no school’,” he said.

“We have, as the department, repeatedly appealed specifically for the Grade 12 learners to be released as time was catching up with us in terms of preparing them for all school based assessments and trial and final examinations. Our plea was not heard by parents and community.”

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