Parents ‘vandalising school’

2009-09-04 00:00

TWO Pietermaritzburg schools — Zibukezelu Technical High School in Imbali and Siyahlomula High School in Ashdown — are among the many in the province with such serious problems that intervention by the provincial Education Department is necessary.

Parents of pupils at Zibukezulu have participated in vandalism and drug activity at the school.

This is according to a report after surprise visits by members of the legislature to schools on the first day of school earlier this year. The findings were subject to a debate in the legislature yesterday.

Chairwoman of the education portfolio committee, Linda Hlongwa (ANC), said many of the problems are societal issues that consciously require teachers, pupils, politicians and the community to stand together to effectively deal with them.

In her report, Hlongwa said that when the delegation arrived at Zibukezulu four teachers were absent.

She said some schools are overcrowded, lack qualified teachers for maths and science, lack commitment by teachers and lack security.

Other schools are suffering because errors in quintile ranking have led to conflicts among principals.

Hlongwa said that the chair of a school governing body (SGB) in the Ilembe District allegedly used funds allocated to the school to build himself a house, “in cahoots with the principal”.

“Even when the chairperson was imprisoned for a year the department chose not to remove him even though … [he] is a known murderer.

“The principal would take documents to Qalakabusha Prison for him to sign, which is really a matter of concern,” she said.

The IFP’s Agnes Mncwango said that Zibukezulu is a classic example of a run-down school. She said parents are alleged to be vandalising, and bringing drugs to, the school.

Mncwango said the delegation resolved to get community leaders to assist at the school and that is when they were told that parents are contributing to the destabilisation.

She said at Siyahlomula the school principal promised to fix some of the problems, but did not elaborate further.

Opposition parties aired their concerns about the shortcomings of the education system. Jo Ann Downs of the ACDP said black schools are the most affected.

She said OBE has failed and urged the ruling party to scrap it and devise an alternative.

The DA’s Tim Stokes said there are no quick solutions to the problems and government needs to act decisively.

Hlongwa said: “We will work to improve the quality of schooling, particularly performance in mathematics, science and technology.”


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