Picketers’ ultimatum

2019-02-12 06:00
Concerned parents of learners at Parkwood Primary School picketed outside the school on Wednesday 7 February.

Concerned parents of learners at Parkwood Primary School picketed outside the school on Wednesday 7 February.

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Disgruntled picketers paraded outside Parkwood Primary School on Wednesday 6 February to highlight the school’s plea to be upgraded.

The picketers included representatives from the school, the school’s governing body (SGB) as well as Thandi Jafta, circuit manager for Metro South Education District of the Western Cape Eduation Department, who was on hand to receive a list of grievances from the concerned parents.

Community leader Paul Phillips said residents would like the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to implement an immediate process of redress. “The school is a reminder of the apartheid-style facilities which we used to have. Nothing has happened post-1994. Before that there was a question posted to the WCED. Their last response was via the spokesperson, who said that the provisional date for the upgrade of the school is 2027,” said Phillips.

SGB chairperson Albert Malgas aired his views on the matter, saying that it is unrealistic and unfair for the school to wait for its upgrade.“We would love to have the department consider our school as a priority school. Twenty years ago we had a fire and lost four classrooms and the department did not even take note of it. If a fire does not move the department, surely our people is going to move them, because we believe people without power will move people in power,” he said, adding they will follow all necessary procedures which the WCED may put in place for them to follow. “The bottom line is that our school is at the moment currently unsafe for our kids and everyone else on the school to practice their work. What we want to achieve for now, is for the department to consider us and put our school on the list for the near future, so that our kids can also benefit from this as well,” Malgas says.

Phillips questioned the WCED’s maintenance and safety plan for the schools in the area, particularly at Parkwood Primary.

“We can submit an independent safety report and health report to them. The current condition of the building at Parkwood Primary School does not comply with safety or health regulations. What the department is doing is allowing our learners [to be] at risk. They are allowing these kids to go into the facility, when they know that the school does not comply with their own standards and regulations,” he said.

The group has given the WCED seven working days to respond.“From the community’s side, this is something that is very important. The department must come up and present us with an interim plan of how they are going to address the issues we’ve highlighted. We are telling them they must not talk about putting up containers, because our kids are not animals.If we do not get the response we expect , we are going to take to the streets, says Phillips.

The department of education had not responded by the time of going to print.

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