Worried pupils plead with strikers and state

2010-09-03 00:00

PUPILS, concerned about their future pleaded with the government and their striking teachers in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday night to end the strike for their sakes and go back to classrooms to prepare for the exams.

The pupils, who are in grades 11 and 12, poured their hearts out at a packed three-hour meeting at Truro Hall in Northdale.

They shared the podium with teachers and parents who are also concerned about the effect of the strike on the readiness of pupils to write exams.

A grade 12 pupil of Silver Heights Secondary School, Asiphiwe Mashini, said she feels that her future is being compromised by both strikers and the government.

She said she worries that her chances of scoring As in all her subjects to enable her to enrol at the University of Pretoria for biological science or accounting science are diminishing.

“One of the most important rights is that every child has the right to education, and I feel that important right is being ignored, overlooked or simply forgotten. By dragging … this strike on and failing to come to an agreement, we are not helping anyone but are depriving learners of valuable lesson time,” she added.

Zikhona Singapha (17), a grade 11 pupil at Kharina Secondary School, called on the government to give teachers “what is rightfully theirs” and end the strike.

“I hope that the strike will end not only for us but also for the people [teachers] we depend on for our future,” she said.

Parents and teachers were concerned about strikers preventing non-strikers from doing their jobs.

“Why can’t we at least have lessons only for matriculants? We need to engage with the unions … our safety is not guaranteed,” said a school principal.

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