845 schools waiting for furniture

2015-07-01 06:05
= Learners of Chubekile Secondary School in Zwide have to write their exams on the floor due to a furniture shortage. At the back from left are Zukile Level, Thulani Sixolo, Siyabulela Mati, Simamkele Mahelembe and Siphuxolo Centua. In front from lef

= Learners of Chubekile Secondary School in Zwide have to write their exams on the floor due to a furniture shortage. At the back from left are Zukile Level, Thulani Sixolo, Siyabulela Mati, Simamkele Mahelembe and Siphuxolo Centua. In front from lef

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LEARNERS at the Chubikile Senior Secondary school in Zwide again had to again write their examinations kneeling.

Halfway through the school year this school is still waiting for furniture which supposedly would have been provided by the Eastern Cape Department of Education eight years ago.

Here learners fight over broken chairs, bins, buckets and even paint tins - anything to not have to sit on the cold floor while writing exams.

According to Mandla Mesusi, chairman of the school’s governing body, teachers and students moved into the grand school building in 1995.

At first glance it seems as if teaching goes ahead without problems.

“However, the appearance can be misleading,” Mesusi said. “We have written many letters to the Department of Education, organized numerous meetings and the parents even earlier this year closed the school gates.

“So far there has been nothing but empty promises from the education department.”

Mesusi decribed a typical school day at Chubikile as “rough”.

“Teachers always have to keep the children out of each other’s hair because they fight over the few chairs and tables we have. But even what we have is dilapidated. It’s the furniture of the old school which we are still using today.

“We need about 400 new desks to provide all 714 students with a decent seat.”

Education department spokesman Mali Mtima told PE Express patience was needed by all concerned.

“It’s really sad that our children are taught and even have to write exams in these circumstances. However we have negotiated with the school to use the excess furniture of neighbouring schools, but they flatly refused. We are working on providing needy schools in the province with furniture, piece by piece,” Mtima explained.

According to Cameron McConnachie, a lawyer for the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) in Grahamstown, Chubikile is on the list of another 845 schools in the province still waiting for furniture.

The LRC has been wrangling with the dpartement on this issue since 2012. “The money is there, the list was compiled, but they have asked for extensions so many times because their paperwork and audits have not been ready.

“The latest was that the department would have delivered all schools furniture by June this year, but they again asked for an extension.

“The department was ordered to get the list of needy schools with numbers to date and submit this past Friday.”

McConnachie added that if the department didn’t comply, the LRC would consider obtaining an independent unit to take over

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