Cape Town pupils use 'ice-cream desks'

2012-05-17 14:13

Cape Town - A lack of communication could explain why Grade One pupils at a Cape Town primary school used ice-cream containers as desks while lying on the floor to write, Western Cape education MEC Donald Grant said on Thursday.

"After a tour of the school I had a private meeting with the school principal and district officials to enquire as to why the school was in the current state that it is in," he said.

"I can, however, report back that [poor] communication lines between the school and the department seem to be one of the factors that have led to this."

Grant visited ACJ Phakade Primary School in Nomzamo informal settlement, Strand, on Thursday after the Cape Argus newspaper informed him of the pupils' situation.

Teacher shortage

Many classrooms were in a poor condition, with few desks or chairs. Some pupils had resorted to bringing two-litre ice-cream containers to write on, while lying on the floor.

He also learned that the school was short of five teachers and used volunteer teachers who were not always present or prepared for lessons.

It was not clear how long the school had been operating in this way or how many pupils were affected by a shortage of furniture.

"What I witnessed was unacceptable and disturbing... For instance, the school had not previously applied for additional educator posts to accommodate the increase of learners at the school."

The school was overcrowded because it had admitted too many pupils at the start of the year after bowing to community pressure.

Pupils transferred to mobile school

Grant said the department had placed 11 mobile classrooms at the back of the school to accommodate pupils while a new school was built as part of an infrastructure plan.

The first phase of building had to be delayed as the mobile rooms were being used to accommodate new pupils instead of existing pupils, he said.

About 800 pupils would be transferred to a mobile school in June.

"I have made the commitment to rectify the situation as soon as possible by providing the school with additional teaching posts, as well as addressing the shortage of furniture at the school."

About 150 to 200 desks and chairs would be delivered to the school next Friday.
Read more on:    donald grant  |  cape town  |  education

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