FROM PAGE 1Pupil removed from school ‘because of overcrowding’

2017-03-02 06:00
Fathima Yacoob with exercise books she bought for her grandson. Photo: andile sithole

Fathima Yacoob with exercise books she bought for her grandson. Photo: andile sithole

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“Every day I used to give him R10 for bus fare to go to Belverton Secondary, but being a pensioner I’m unable to give him bus fare every day, so I decided to take him out of Belverton.”

Belverton Secondary principal Uthamaganthan Chetty confirmed that his school had issued a transfer letter.

Chetty said he told Yacoob about the school’s policy saying that it was crucial to get confirmation of a place for the pupil from the receiving school.

“Buffesdale Secondary was contacted and confirmed a place for the pupil [Aaqil]. The school then issued the transfer card to the grandparent. The school was then informed by the circuit manager Selvan Chetty that there was no place at Buffelsdale Secondary. [So] I would accept him [at Belverton] once again.”

Desmond Chellan from the ANC constituency office said the deputy principal granted Aaqil admission before the principal returned to school.

Buffelsdale Secondary principal SK Singh confirmed that the school had received a call from the secretary of Belverton Secondary inquiring whether there was a place for the pupil.

“We indicated we did not have place. They [grandparents] then came for admission and we told them we had no place. We have only one Grade 9 class which has 59 pupils. The school has lost teachers due to a lower PPN and thus classes had to be compressed to accommodate pupils.
“In week three of school the political administrator [Desmond Chellan] came to school and demanded that the child be put in class and be given an admission form. My staff felt threatened and to avoid being embarrassed they told him that I was not at school for a few days and they would put the child in class until I return. “The application for admission form was also given and does not indicate that the place is guaranteed.”

Billy Nair DoE circuit manager Selvan Chetty said: “The policy of the education department governing transfer of pupils says a pupil can only be granted a transfer if the pupil produces a letter from the receiving school stating that there is a place for the pupil. In this case that was not done. Therefore, my office is of the understanding that the said pupil is still registered at Belverton Secondary.”

Chairperson of the school governing body Roger Coopoosamy said in a statement: “The continued political pressures from the local offices went further to force the issue upon us to accept the pupil, again without following procedures. The forced placement of the pupil during the short stay after the third week of the school term was done in the absence of the principal and the chairperson due to our non-availability at that time.

“The grandparents were given, in advance, an appointment only to send a hand-written apology at the last minute on the day of the appointment. It was discussed at length and indicated to the representative together with the pupil that the class has over the regulated amount and that it is impossible to add more pupils at that time.

“Take note, apart from the current pupils, who progressed to Grade 9 there are many returning pupils who failed their former Grade 9.

“As the school, which housed these pupils the previous year, it is proper that the same school accept them in the current year.

“Based on this, the number of pupils in the current Grade 9 class escalated from 48 to 59 in a single class.The decision for the pupil to return to his former school was supported by the circuit manager who is fully aware of the situation.”
The child is currently at home, not at school.

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