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

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Awesome extreme sports people

Watch some of the most epic extreme sports moments of 2014!


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
4 exercise excuses and how to beat them
Watch: Insane road bike skills!
The most extreme journey ever?

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong desire to be self sufficient, right and in control today. There is a tendency to hold on too tightly to more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.