Cape Town pupils use 'ice-cream desks'

2012-05-17 14:13

Cape Town - A lack of communication could explain why Grade One pupils at a Cape Town primary school used ice-cream containers as desks while lying on the floor to write, Western Cape education MEC Donald Grant said on Thursday.

"After a tour of the school I had a private meeting with the school principal and district officials to enquire as to why the school was in the current state that it is in," he said.

"I can, however, report back that [poor] communication lines between the school and the department seem to be one of the factors that have led to this."

Grant visited ACJ Phakade Primary School in Nomzamo informal settlement, Strand, on Thursday after the Cape Argus newspaper informed him of the pupils' situation.

Teacher shortage

Many classrooms were in a poor condition, with few desks or chairs. Some pupils had resorted to bringing two-litre ice-cream containers to write on, while lying on the floor.

He also learned that the school was short of five teachers and used volunteer teachers who were not always present or prepared for lessons.

It was not clear how long the school had been operating in this way or how many pupils were affected by a shortage of furniture.

"What I witnessed was unacceptable and disturbing... For instance, the school had not previously applied for additional educator posts to accommodate the increase of learners at the school."

The school was overcrowded because it had admitted too many pupils at the start of the year after bowing to community pressure.

Pupils transferred to mobile school

Grant said the department had placed 11 mobile classrooms at the back of the school to accommodate pupils while a new school was built as part of an infrastructure plan.

The first phase of building had to be delayed as the mobile rooms were being used to accommodate new pupils instead of existing pupils, he said.

About 800 pupils would be transferred to a mobile school in June.

"I have made the commitment to rectify the situation as soon as possible by providing the school with additional teaching posts, as well as addressing the shortage of furniture at the school."

About 150 to 200 desks and chairs would be delivered to the school next Friday.

  • katlego.n.mokoneng - 2012-05-17 14:25

    what is the world cuming to!

      Msika - 2012-05-17 15:31

      @katlego, In the Western Cape nogal. These are "Education Refugees".

      stuart.steedman - 2012-05-17 15:44

      Judging by your spelling ("cuming", what the hell?) I'm guessing you probably came from that school.

      boltonbarry - 2012-05-17 15:57

      UMMMMMM do you know what the word cumming means Katlego????

      Kala - 2012-05-17 16:08

      Can you beleive it. As soon as the problem was brought to the councillor's attention he personally went to the school to investigate. No wasting of tax payers money setting up a committee to investigate, no time wasted while fingers get pointed in every direction. The cause of the problem was quickly identified and I have little doubt that major improvements are on the way. Well done DA.

      Wimpie.Haefele - 2012-05-17 16:21

      Problem was identified and now action is taken, hope other parties learn from this, well done DA.

      Bob - 2012-05-17 16:29

      My sentiments exactly, the WC is not perfect, just a heap better than the rest of the country, and yes the difference is this will be sorted out as a matter of urgency and won't become a PROCESS, the ANC's favourite word to use which actually means nothing is happening.

  • Samantha - 2012-05-17 14:39

    I wish you would just pay the teachers properly and then they wont leave the country and the rest of the schools would not have to push 43 kids upwards into 1 class!!- fix up the schools and get competent teachers and principles who care about the kids education

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-17 14:50

      Then vote DA for government...

      Samantha - 2012-05-17 15:09

      I've always voted for whats best for this country- I am not an idiot! thanks

      Vicker - 2012-05-17 15:31

      Umm no Alicia - I already pay my taxes which should be used to buy these kids what they require. The moment that you and I buy desks for these kids is the moment when the gumment once again starts expecting the private sector to shoulder the costs.

      Msika - 2012-05-17 15:40

      @Alicia, we are already doing that with our tax money...blame it on the MEC Donald Grant and his superiors. He's not even taking full risponsibility for the mess, balming "poor communication lines between the school blah blah".

      sabongam - 2012-07-18 12:52

      This is a school in a province run by the DA. As much as I think the DA is competent in the way they govern it still highlights the fact that they're also not immune to problems(education). By the way, if I may ask why does this only happen in black schools and not your so-called former Model C or "white" schools, in the Western Cape of all places?

  • keith.recore - 2012-05-17 14:42

    Cape Argus, follow up, make sure this is done. Swift action by Grant, perhaps also a heads up to avoid this happening again at another school in future. Imagine, a desk instead of the floor.

      Kala - 2012-05-17 16:14

      At least Grant personally invstigated the incident after it was brought to his attention. The ANC would need to establish a task team to investigate the matter further and establish why business South Africa had not solved the problem. Thier final conclusion would be on the lines of "we have detter mined that the legacy of the appartheid guvverment has been detri, dterremn, detrimen... bad for thees cheldren"

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-05-17 14:43

    "I have made the commitment to rectify the situation as soon as possible by providing the school with additional teaching posts, as well as addressing the shortage of furniture at the school." Make sure this happens speedily please!

  • selwyn.eggel - 2012-05-17 14:45

    See! Once again! The DA in ACTION! Thank you DA for what you are doing! Keep up the good work! ANC - Look and LEARN!!

      siyadyosiba - 2012-05-17 15:09

      been in action since they took over WC and still having schools in such a condition many many years later. They are no better, I thought they were.

      selwyn.eggel - 2012-05-17 15:20

      No Johan3854! There is a big diference between the ANC and the DA! Period!

      lydonmcg - 2012-05-17 15:22

      Seriously...use your heads. How are the DA supposed to smell what was happening without the school doing the simple job of informing them as to their plight?

      siyadyosiba - 2012-05-17 15:29

      @lydonmcg, I guess the same applies for ANC as well. ANC doesn't run schools, teachers do. But I like ANC, they dont shift blame, they take responsibility because they know they run the province and should be aware of whatever is going on. DA can learn a thing or two from ANC, isn't that right lydon?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-17 15:52

      @siya, um the ANC can learn from the DA actually. Aren't the open toilets in the FS still open?

      Kala - 2012-05-17 16:15

      Troll alert!!!!

      TSR01 - 2012-07-18 11:53

      The DA heard of the matter, personally went to investigate, found a problem, implemented an immediate solution (Mobile Classrooms), started rebuilding the school with new infrastructure to accommodate more pupils, and this article seems old? (2012-05-17, that was in May..? Think it got published late)

  • ryno.colyn - 2012-05-17 14:50

    pathetic!!! adults are fighting about crap like which rugby stadium to use while education are being killed.

  • revaro.winkler - 2012-05-17 14:53

    shame hope someone is accountable

  • siyadyosiba - 2012-05-17 15:07

    Yeah right, blame it on the Principal. Its interesting that they are only finding out now that they have such a problem. When did DA take over WC? The way they talk you wouldn't think that they have schools in such conditions. I however commend your commitment to address the problem. We will see next friday if the schools has desks and chairs.

      Johnny - 2012-05-17 15:13

      You too are the proud owner of my above comment to Kagiso Tlhakung... read the article again... they are doing something about it. Go take a look at the anc ruled Eastern Cape if you want to make any comments !!

      siyadyosiba - 2012-05-17 15:32

      @johhnny, you outburst is baseless. did you read my comment?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-17 15:54

      DA have built 33 new schools, how is the EC doing?

      tobydt - 2012-05-17 16:44

      ECape education government has been given a deadline by the courts to provide textbooks. And guess who brought us this specific story? It wasnt a COSATU/ANC dude, it was a DA dude.

  • snylo - 2012-05-17 15:11

    Poor management! Obviously the principal is not as proactive as he should be and is focusing just on that month end salary of his!

      siyadyosiba - 2012-05-17 15:37

      i can say the same about the schools in EC. Principals not proactive. Let's not blame politcal parties even though they run the provinces. Smart and Convinient.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-17 15:55

      siya, there is corruption and mismanagement in EC education. This is not happening in the WC... your arguments are incomparable

      siyadyosiba - 2012-05-17 17:10

      @point, i can see you missed my point. i was showing snydo that its no good for political parties to shift blame. hence "smart and convinient" at the end.

  • laurence.woodburn - 2012-05-17 15:15

    A South African innovation and initiative can help solve this problem -

  • Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-05-17 15:43

    I thought things in WC are up to standard,or maybe the refugees from EC are coming in bigger numbers again.Kweee

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-17 15:56

      Oh Tankiso you make me laugh, you such a silly troll..

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-17 15:57

      Actually you did bring up a very good point, not bad for a troll, yes the number of people from the EC is big - up to 6000 a month.

      Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-05-17 16:03

      @PointBlank,then why fight me because we both agree that the big numbers from EC are a problem?Eish some people mara

      Msika - 2012-05-17 16:13

      @Tankiso Mogoje, he saw your name, read the 1st sentence of your comment and made his/her comment.

      tobydt - 2012-05-17 16:49

      These ECape refugees are 'provoking' the WCape. And if this was COSATU, violence and intimidation would be the order of the day :P

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-18 10:46

      Tankiso, sorry, might be the language barrier - if we agree then great!

  • Bruce - 2012-05-17 15:48

    The school had admitted too many pupils. Was there another school in the area for them to go to. I can't understand that nobody seems to have the slightest idea how many children there are in an area. They don't suddenly drop out of the sky at age six. When I lived in Germany you had to report to the nearest police station when you moved into an area. They would inform the area you moved from and so the authorities had a better idea how many people lived in an area. And that was before computers!

      TaniaSandraSteyn - 2012-05-17 19:23

      Makes sense, Bruce. Too Much for us, I'm afraid.

  • ditshegobt - 2012-05-17 16:07

    Where is DA on these one?But it(DA)can see ANC's mistake.

      TSR01 - 2012-07-18 11:50

      Read the whole article. They found the problem and took immediate action. Note especially they are rebuilding the school to provide new infrastructure. Mobile classrooms in the meantime. (Article says in June? I see 2012-05-17... 2 months ago? Is this an old article that was only published now?)

  • Christian J Denyschen - 2012-05-17 16:15

    @siyadyosiba good luck at the mamparra of the day awards you are the shoe in!

      siyadyosiba - 2012-05-17 17:12

      thank you for the compliment. I will accept the award from you, the chairperson of Idiocy Board. Its an honour your Excellency.

  • Benita - 2012-05-18 09:58

    I've seen these poor conditions in a school in Cape Town. And although they had chairs and desks, they could do with more help from the government. I suggest the government start spending the tax payer's money on education and bringing up those poor kids, instead of spending it on changing street names, and parties for the ANC youth league. Most of those children come from very poor homes. Tehy already live a very hard life. And I think the government has an important role to play in helping their school to bring these children up properly. See, people don't care how much you know, but they want to know (and see) how much you care.

      TSR01 - 2012-07-18 11:49

      Funny, this is an old article: 2012-05-17 14:13 - by the way, read the rest, because as soon as a problem was discovered, they implemented a strategy to resolve it.

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