Pupils protest after months of ‘empty promises’

2016-05-05 10:00
Pupils of Heritage Academy in Prestbury staged a protest calling on the school to employ a maths teacher and a librarian.

Pupils of Heritage Academy in Prestbury staged a protest calling on the school to employ a maths teacher and a librarian. (Kailene Pillay, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Frustrated pupils at the Heritage Academy staged a protest at the school on Wednesday demanding the school employ a maths teacher and provide them with library and Internet access.

According to the Grade 9 to matric pupils at the Prestbury school, they have been without a maths teacher since the beginning of this term.

“Our previous maths teacher left without anyone giving us a reason. Now we have trials and exams coming up and we are way behind on our syllabus,” said spokesperson for the pupils, matriculant Asephelele Shabalala.

He said the pupils have also not had a librarian at the school since the beginning of the year.

“We have no access to our library to assist us with assignments and projects. Also, since a recent break-in at the school we have had no Internet access,” he said.

About 100 pupils from grades nine to 12 stood at the school gates early yesterday morning with placards asking for school management to provide answers.

They said they held back on protesting, however, when the school management failed to give them answers through the month, “we had no choice”.

“Our parents have had to send us for extra tuition and pay out of their own pockets. We pay up to R33 000 a year for school fees and now have to pay for extra lessons,” he said.

Shabalala said the pupils were protesting with full permission from their parents.

A concerned parent, Ntokozo Sibetha, said she fully supported her daughter being part of the protest and also demanded answers from the school.

“There was a similar problem last year and again there were no answers. Now I am trying to look for another school for my daughter so she can catch up on work that she has missed.”

Sibetha said the school never notified her that there was no maths teacher and she only heard from her daughter, who is in matric.

“Maths is not a subject that can be self-taught. These children need a teacher. I have been in contact with the school and none of us have received answers,” Sibetha said.

While pupils protested, another parent arrived to acquire a transfer for her daughter.

“This girl who just left with her mother is going to another school. She only came to our school for a few months and now her parents have to move her,” said one of the pupils.

Questions were sent to Heritage Academy school principal Clive Lawler, who responded saying only that “the matter has been addressed and resolved with the parties concerned” and that “communication has been made with our parents”.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  protest  |  school

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