Top Cape Town girls' school caught in transformation row

2018-11-02 16:48
School classroom. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

School classroom. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is monitoring allegations that a well known Cape Town girls' school is slow to transform, following the reported resignation of a black teacher at the school, the department's spokesperson said. 

"The WCED is aware of allegations of racism at the school," the WCED said in a statement.

This followed a report by the Mail & Guardian on Friday that the teacher, who was also a former pupil at Rustenburg Girls' Junior School, had resigned after a fraught period in which her abilities were questioned.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was involved, the report said. The teacher said she did not experience racism, but had felt undermined and unsupported.

One child reportedly asked if the UCT teaching graduate was "a real teacher".

But some parents have reportedly also raised issues of transformation at the school and said they felt they were treated as adversaries when doing this.

READ: Maritzburg College boys' disciplinary halted so racism at school can be probed - education dept

In the statement, the department said it had engaged extensively with the school governing body, concerned parents, as well as the staff. 

"The school has committed itself to ensure that the school transforms itself into one that embraces diversity. The WCED is engaging with the school to continue to enhance and embrace diversity," the department said.

It also said the governing body had hired the teacher and that she was not a department employee. Since a legal process was under way, it could not comment further.

The school's governing body, in a statement of its own, said the "future-focused" school was in a state of transition and was reviewing policies to identify barriers to transformation.

"We are supported and held accountable by an involved and passionate parent body and, while there are robust debates on issues, we are united when it comes to what is best for our daughters," it said.

"The only statement we will make as far as [the teacher] is concerned, is that we have taken the time to hear each other and better understand the intent behind the actions taken by both parties and we are at a point where there is a better understanding of each other's perspectives as we move forward."

Read more on:    education  |  cape town  |  racism

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