Philippi pupils reject shipping container classrooms

2017-03-24 19:22
Philippi High School pupils protest in Cape Town. (Jenni Evans,  News24)

Philippi High School pupils protest in Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Philippi High School pupils protested outside the Western Cape legislature on Friday for proper classrooms, instead of the shipping containers they currently use.

"We have been going to the department for a long time. It has been 10 years now, so it shows that they don't want to take us seriously," said matric pupil "China" Klaas.

They went to the department of education's office in Mitchell's Plain earlier in March to raise their concerns, but nothing had changed.

GroundUp reported on March 6 that about 150 pupils participated in the march until police confronted them and told them it was illegal.

At least one stun grenade was fired.

Klaas said pupils tried to block the N3, to draw attention to how desperate they were for proper classrooms. Police stopped them and some pupils were arrested for alleged public violence.

Good pass rate

The remainder went to the local police station and demanded that they all be arrested as a group. They were told to come back when their fellow pupils' case was in court.

The Athlone Magistrate's Court sent all the school children home with a warning. Klaas said in spite of this, there was still no sign of the new school.

There were 735 pupils in grades 10, 11, and 12 he explained, and they had worked hard for their 92% matric pass rate in 2016.

They were upset that some of their teachers were told their contracts would not be renewed, even though they had contributed to the good pass rate in difficult circumstances.

Klaas said the containers were on the sports field of a neighbourhood primary school. There was beach sand underfoot outside, and the containers became very hot in summer, and very cold in winter.

The toilets were filthy and without doors, and their computers had already been stolen, he said.

In addition to the school being built, pupils wanted the school to scrap the R100 a year security fee they each had to pay, the R1 per photocopy charge to be reduced, the School Governing Body to be changed, and for the headmaster and caretaker to be removed.

He alleged that food meant to help hungry children was going missing.

Broadcaster eNCA reported on March 8 that provincial education department spokesperson Millicent Merton stated there were plans for a new school, but the right land had not yet been found.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education

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