Teachers boycott classes

2013-01-23 00:00

WITH no supervision and no classes taking place, pupils at a Pietermaritzburg school have been loitering in the school yard and huddling under trees while their teachers are ensconced in the staff room.

This has been the situation at Fundokuhle Secondary School in Imbali since schools reopened on Wednesday last week.

The teachers have refused to take their classes because of a feud with the principal over timetables.

When The Witness visited the school yesterday, senior girls, many wearing red lipstick, were strolling up and down the corridors.

Grade 8 pupils sat in a classroom with dirty floors and broken furniture, staring at a blank chalkboard.

One teacher said they would not return to class until their principal left the school.

The teachers said they had not received timetables and duty loads from the principal.

Another issue was that the subjects most teachers teach had been reshuffled.

“I teach natural science and maths, but now I’m told I need to drop maths and teach technology, a subject I don’t have a clue about,” a teacher said.

“It’s a bit sad that we’re not in class,” said a Grade 8 pupil.

He worries that his teachers will soon set tests for topics they were not taught.

“They are holding us back,” he added.

A Grade 10 boy said he had received only one of the textbooks he was expecting for seven subjects.

“I haven’t written a thing … all we know is that there are issues in the office and that’s why we are not learning. But we’re still expected to arrive at 7.15 am.”

His classmate said there were about 65 pupils in her class, while another joked that it seemed to be closer to 100 judging by how congested their classroom was.

“Our parents can only afford R400 for school fees. They can’t afford to take us to better schools,” she said.

Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa appealed to the teachers to return to their classes. “Teachers are professionals and know which route they must take to resolve whatever misunderstandings they have.

“The department is trying to inculcate that there should be classes on the first day, first hour and first minute of school,” he added.

Meanwhile, the portfolio committee on basic education yesterday praised the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education for putting proper plans in place to ensure effective schooling for the year.

Attempts to get comment from the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union on the situation at Fundokuhle Secondary School were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.

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