Learners present list of demands

2015-11-19 06:00
 Students from Iqhayiya High School in Khayelitsha marched to the Western Cape Department of Education.  PHOTO: Liza Kettil

Students from Iqhayiya High School in Khayelitsha marched to the Western Cape Department of Education. PHOTO: Liza Kettil

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About 150 students from iQhayiya High School in Khayelitsha marched to the Western Cape Department of Education to demand an answer from the acting deputy director, Benjamin Schereka, to their list of demands.

The demands included the opening of the computer room, an end to corporal punishment, that different hairstyles and extensions be allowed, the dismissal of the principal, an end to contribution fees, proof of the use of what they say is R2 million in donations, and the freedom to join any organisation they choose.

The Department had replied on Monday, but learners were not satisfied with the answers.

Student Litha Ncipha said, “There is nothing that shows that this [the written reply] comes from the Department of Education … No stamp … For all we know it could have come from the school.”

Grade 10 learner Ntando Bligenhout, who is 18, said the students wanted the principal to be fired.

“Where is the R2 million that sponsors gave to improve the school? We pay school fees; we pay for photocopy paper and toilet paper that we don’t even get … She hasn’t accounted for the missing money,” he said.

He said in a meeting at the school with parents and the student governing body (SGB), the principal had not given students an opportunity to talk.

Students were dissatisfied that in the response from the Department there was no timeline and no plan to address the issues they raised. They said the SGB and the Representative Council of Learners were not effective in their work and biased towards the principal.

After singing in front of the department building, two learners entered while the rest knelt outside singing.

Deputy Director General John Lyners addressed the learners saying this was the first time he had heard the demands.

“I have received and heard the demands and I believe that this is the same memo that was given to the District Director,” he said.

When he said he would take a few days to review the issue, learners stood up shouting, “We want answers now. We can’t keep coming here! We are writing exams.”

Learners gave Lyners until Friday to reply.

“We want you to come to the school and not send us replies like this, talk to us, and tell us what will be done next,” said Bligenhout. Lyners agreed to address the school.


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