Enrollment age in the spotlight

2017-01-18 06:02
Prudence Ramasedi, HOD and gr. 2 teacher, teaches her class at the St Peters Primary School. Learner enrollment age requirements have been put in the spotlight when she pointed out the advantages and disadvantages on Wednesday (11/01).   Photo: Boipelo Mere

Prudence Ramasedi, HOD and gr. 2 teacher, teaches her class at the St Peters Primary School. Learner enrollment age requirements have been put in the spotlight when she pointed out the advantages and disadvantages on Wednesday (11/01). Photo: Boipelo Mere

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Learner enrollment age requirements were put in the spotlight as a Galeshewe teacher highlighted the advantages and disadvantages during the re-opening of schools on Wednesday (11/01).

Parents were advised to allow their children time and the opportunity to grow and mature equally in the foundation phase instead of pushing them to start school earlier.

The bottom line is, children who start gr. 1 at the age of five or six are usually not mature enough, which tends to put teachers under more strain.

This remark was made by Prudence Ramasedia, a gr. 2 teacher at St Peter’s Primary School, who is also an HOD at the school.

Express Northern Cape’s interest was drawn to her class upon noticing how young the learners looked.

Laughing off the concern raised, Ramasedi admitted that most foundation phase learners, especially in township schools, are young due to the fact that their parents prefer to send them to school at that age.

She emphasised that teachers will continue to act in good spirit to make their learners happy, including what is in the best interest of their children.

Express Northern Cape chose to wait for the school break before getting a chance to engage with Ramasedi, who refused to leave her class unattended on the first day of school on Wednesday (11/01).

Ramasedi encouraged parents to rather allow their children to be children and start them in gr. 1 at the age of seven, as they are still immature and not coping at a younger age.

The biggest concern that Ramasedi raised is that sending a child to school at an early age may affect them at a later stage, as they might not be able to cope with the workload at higher grades.

“Although it is not all of them, as some children are geniuses and some manage to make it through various interventions from teachers.”

In such situations, teachers have to work with the school intervention team who later refer the learners to the Education Support System (ESS) for further assessment.

“That is where the other challenge is experienced, due to the fact that the Department of Education only has one ESS, which is referred to as the schools clinic in the province.”

The school’s acting principal, Shelly Fatyela, also cautioned the parents on being unrealistic.

She said that most parents tend to vanish into thin air upon the release of the school clinic results, especially when they refer the learners to special schools or to special intervention.

“Parents and the community at large tend to be judgemental when it comes to special schools and call them abusive names.

“That is why they tend to dissappear or feel ashamed whenever their children are being referred there, mostly to learn skills.

“That is why we try our best to do away with that attitude by arranging a tour with the parents to show them around the schools, in order for them to have an idea what their children can achieve from them.

“We have to work hand in hand in an effort to ensure that no child is denied the right to education,” concluded Fatyela.

Fatyela further thanked the parents who show interest in the education of their children by showing up on the first day to meet the teachers.

“Everything went smoothly, as everyone cleared themselves and allowed teachers to do their work after the learners were placed in their classes.”

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