Few pupils show up at schools

2010-08-11 00:00

THE picture of what an extended strike is likely to do to education and who is most likely to bear the brunt was visible on the first day of pickets held in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Disruptions to teaching appeared to have hit township schools the hardest as many were closed by 11 am.

Schoolchildren loitered in the streets while younger pupils took time to sharpen their football skills.

Although The Witness found a few locked gates when it visited Edendale and Imbali schools, in many instances children had been sent home for the day and very few teachers were in attendance.

Georgetown Secondary managed only a 28% pass rate last year. Although there were pupils on the school premises, the principal was apparently locked in a meeting with some of the teachers when The Witness got there. Pupils said morning classes had been held.

Pupils at Nyonithwele said they were sent home after their teachers had locked themselves in meetings.

“The teachers were at school, but we didn’t have classes. We were told to go home and come back tomorrow,” a grade 10 pupil said.

Pupils said they are on the streets because there is nothing to do at home. They claimed that textbooks are locked up at school because teachers fear they will lose them.

Mehlokazulu principal Thamsanqa Shabalala said teacher attendance was normal. but the register shows that the pupil attendance was lower than usual.

Zibukezulu Technical High School, a poorly performing school in Imbali, also reported low pupil attendance.

With just 21 days to trial examinations, Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High acting principal Mary-Ann Ackerman said it was all systems go there.

Alexander High also had a full day, but principal Andrew Graaf said 11 staff members have stated their intention to attend the mass meeting today.

Schools in Northdale also reported a normal day. Heather Secondary principal Lovey Moodley said the day ran smoothly but only half of the pupils showed up.

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