Plans to stabilise school

2016-04-06 06:00

THE Free State Department of Education has removed the principal and two deputies at the Bartimea School for the Deaf and Blind in Thaba Nchu as a stringent measure to stabilise progress at the school.

The school re-opened on Tuesday (05/04) after it had prematurely closed on 18 March due to violent protests by angry learners.

Howard Ndaba, the departmental spokesperson, said the trio had been deployed at the district offices. “The decision was taken to ensure smooth progress at the school after disruptions by learners had forced it to close prematurely last month,” said Ndaba.

He said the department’s decision to remove the principal and two deputies had been promoted by the poor pass rate, besides fuelled grievances raised by the learners.

“The situation at the school was two-fold. There were complaints by learners and also teachers and this destabilised the progress. Over the last two years, the school achieved a 100% pass rate, but it dropped to 78%,” said Ndaba.

Classes at the school reportedly resumed in earnest o Tuesday, with the department’s task team monitoring the situation as part of its turn-around strategy to address the grievances.

He said recent damages caused by angry learners were not as extensive as those in 2014, when dissatisfied learners torched an administration block and apartment, expressing their dissatisfaction about a range of concerns.

Ndaba said damages in the 2014 violent protests added up to R1 177 000.

The learners raised grievances relating to poor quality of education for deaf learners, incompetence of some teachers in Sign Language, unequal distribution of resources between deaf and blind learners, as well as alleged ill-treatment of deaf learners by the school’s management.

Ndaba said a task team led by chief directors had been established to address the learners’ grievances and ensure smooth progress.

“The task team met on several occasions to investigate all the allegations raised by learners.

“A turn-around strategy has been developed to respond to these issues,” said Ndaba.

He said the task team was to meet with parents and learners on Saturday (09/04) to further deal with issues raised.

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