PUPILS who intentionally dodge classes and are regular latecomers are a huge challenge for Kokstad schools.
Some pupils don’t comply with the code of conduct that is introduced by schools to end late arrivals. This is according to school principals and the community of Kokstad.
Following this complaint, a Fever journalist drove around the area and found 10 pupils sitting on the streets in Shayamoya, who said they found the school gates locked after they arrived late. The pupils told the Fever that they have to walk long distances to get to school, therefore they are late.
“We have to wait for one another when going to school because gangs terrorise us on our way to school and we are late,” said a pupil who was found on a street during school hours.
Another pupil said he had to wait for other children to bath as they share one washing basin at home.
To deal with the late arrival of pupils, some schools lock their gates and pupils who arrive late have to return home as punishment or clean the school yard.
A member of the school’s governing body, Monde Nondabula, said that at a parents’ meeting held last month, the late arrival of pupils was addressed. “Members of the SGB resolved to visit the school regularly to monitor the late coming of pupils and they have started to obey since we started visiting the school. When a pupil arrives late at school, we inform his or her parent,” said Nondabula.
School principal Nkululeko Mpompi said that 40% of the pupils travel more than eight kilometres from home to school.
He said other pupils who come from towns outside Umzimkhulu stay two kilometres away from the school.
“We don’t have the problem of late arrivals and we thank community members who play a role at the school. The school has no pupil transport and what makes me happy is that pupils comply with the school rules about arriving on time,” said Mpompi.
Department of Education Kokstad circuit manager Cedric Mseleku said the government has made efforts by donating bicycles to pupils at some schools to address the problem of late arrivals.
He said a school bus was hired by the government to transport pupils who attend farm schools around Kokstad. “We instructed schools to close their gates after 8 am for pupils to understand the importance of coming early. The number of pupils who are seen moving around during school hours has reduced and I want to encourage parents to play a role to fight the late coming of pupils,” said Mseleku.