Oakdale Secondary school to get new premises following protest

2019-04-29 15:09
School desks. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

School desks. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Gauteng Department of Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has promised to build a new school for students of the dilapidated Oakdale Secondary school in Ennerdale, Johannesburg. 

Angry parents suspended learning and teaching at the school, demanding that new premises be built. They claim the current school was dilapidated and could not be refurbished.

Only Grade 12 pupils are currently being taught at the school, while pupils aged between Grade 8 and 11 stay at home waiting to hear when they should return to their classrooms.  

On Monday morning, deputy principal Ismail Snyders at a meeting said Lesufi had promised a new school building. 

Lesufi has also asked parents, teachers, union representatives and senior government officials from his department to constitute a task team with immediate effect. 

Secure land

The task team's role is to quickly secure a piece of land in Ennerdale where temporary structures will be erected, while the current structures are demolished to pave way for a new building.

"MEC Lesufi emphasised that he was against the closing of the school. He told them that he has the interests of pupils at heart.

"He cares more about learners. He was clear that the school governing body (SGB) has no right to close the school and he as the MEC has no right to close down any school," said departmental spokesperson Steve Mabona.

Lesufi has asked the SGB to give him reasons why he shouldn't dissolve the body, he added. 

"The HOD (head of department) will be writing to the SGB soon demanding answers. Lesufi has emphasised that the new task team must move quickly and ensure that learning is taking place and Grade 12 pupils should be prioritised. He has promised to provide the school with mobile classrooms once they have relocated to a new place while processes to build a new school are taking place," said Mabona.

Snyders said that Lesufi told the task team that he didn't want any students on the school premises when construction commenced.

"Lesufi said he had to take budget from a school that was meant to be built in Diepsloot after residents there clashed over the new school and directed those funds to Oakdale. Lesufi said he visited our school twice unannounced and noticed that the rest of the school was a problem. We are on his priority list for a new school."

READ: Teaching resumes at Oakdale Secondary School, but only for matrics

However, one pupil was not happy about the news and pleaded with teachers in the meeting that classes resume with immediate effect.

"Please our teachers, I am pleading with you, we want to go back to our classes, even if it is this week. It has been a month now, we have been sitting at home. It will be a process while the task team secures the land. To implement infrastructure in that new land is going to take time also while we are sitting at home.

"It has been long now and we are losing out on our curriculum. The law says every child has a right to education. Don't deprive me [of] my right to education," she said.

Catch-up plan

Oakdale SGB spokesperson Wendy Mntambo said there is a catch-up plan to ensure Grade 8 to 11 pupils are still being taught.

"There is a plan in place. There will be more work for our teachers to ensure our learners catch up with the time they have lost. Our teachers will ensure that they work overtime and on weekends to ensure learners pass their examinations," she said.

Mntambo added that Lesufi has promised that there are funds to build a new school and the task team must work faster to ensure that teachers and pupils are relocated. 

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Read more on:    panyaza lesufi  |  johannesburg  |  education
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