St Barnabas may have to close

2000-10-01 22:27

Johannesburg - One of South Africa's most respected schools, St Barnabas College in Johannesburg, was experiencing a financial crisis and faced possible closure before the year-end examinations, the school said in a statement on Sunday.

Principal Michael Corke said the school which was set up in 1963 for "poor black children", was formerly funded by overseas businesses.

He said when South Africa attained democracy in 1994, many businesses withdrew funding "in the belief that the end of apartheid would immediately spell better education for all."

The school now faces closure before the November examinations because of mounting debts. Matric pupils were expected to write their finals but could miss vital weeks of revision.

"If St Barnabas is forced to close, its pupils will return to the hardships of learning in under resourced schools in townships and rural areas."

The school currently has 350 pupils.

Corke said teachers remained loyal to the school, despite the financial crisis and uncertainty over the payment of salaries.

"With some notable exceptions, we have been unable to obtain the help we need from corporate South Africa (for September salaries)."

St Barnabas, the first school in the country to open its doors to pupils of all race groups, had in the past eight years, achieved a 100 percent pass rate in the final Independent Examinations Board exam. - Sapa.