Catch-up plan for Vuwani students if shutdown ends

2017-09-15 20:55
School that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (File, News24 Correspondent)

School that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (File, News24 Correspondent)

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Pretoria - The basic education department hopes that it will be able to implement a catch-up plan that will help 1 600 matriculants affected by a shutdown in Vuwani, Limpopo, as final examinations loom.

Speaking at a media conference at the Government Communication Information System headquarters in Pretoria on Friday morning, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said the department was concerned that the shutdown was still in place, which meant schools were closed too.

"What concerns us the most is the fact that the disruptions have affected learners, particularly those in Grade 12 as they could not finish writing their preliminary examinations," said Motshekga.

"In total, there are 29 000 learners, including 1 600 matriculants, whose future is in jeopardy."

The minister said the department had already presented a catch-up plan to the portfolio committee on education.

READ: All systems go for Matric final exams

She said the department hoped to implement it when the situation improved.

"We hope that the continued engagement between stakeholders will yield some positive outcomes that will create a conducive environment for learning and teaching to resume."

On Wednesday, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said that it was deeply concerned about reports that schools were shut down in Vuwani after a resurgence of violent protests.

Right to protest

Residents shut down the area, including schools, as part of a long-standing feud with the Municipal Demarcation Board.

In 2016, at least 29 schools were either torched or vandalised during violent protests over demarcation. Around 10 200 pupils were affected.

The SAHRC said it specifically raised the issue of children being prevented from attending school at the time.

It convened a national investigative hearing in June 2016.

The commission stated in its final hearing report that communities, public officials and citizens should act together to ensure children attended school.

SAHRC education commissioner Andre Gaum said everyone had a right to peaceful protest.

"While protesters are free to advance their interests through protest action, preventing access to schools undermines the right to education," he said.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  angie motshekga  |  education

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