“Even one day matters in our matric year.”
Grade 12 learners spoke to GMDirect outside Mary Waters Secondary on Monday morning, as the school remain closed for a second day after Grade 8 and 9 term reports showed minus-one scores for four subjects. Outraged parents discovered their children hadn’t been taught those subjects, because there were no teachers to teach them, and insisted the school close until the shortage is resolved.
Local Department of Education officials met with the school’s senior management team (SMT) and the school governing body (SGB) late Monday morning; however, parents insisted they want the head of education in the district, Nkosinathi Godlo, to meet them on Wednesday 19 May.
GMDirect understands that Godlo has been trying to resolve a similar situation at a school in Somerset East in the past few days and we were unable to confirm whether he will indeed come to Makhanda on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, as the midyear exams approach, Grade 12s at Mary Waters are anxious about missing any more classes.
“Look, we’re with them on the fact that the school needs teachers. But even one day in a Grade 12 child’s life has an impact on their performance in the finals- and so on their future.”
Learners had already experience enormous stress as a result of the pandemic.
“Honestly, this is just putting more stress on the learners.”
Another Grade 12 said, “I understand parents are cross and that – but then why stop the higher grades from attending classes?”
Close to tears, he said, “It’s frustrating and depressing, because we see some schools moving forward and we are not.”
Another Grade 12, like her classmates, had come in full uniform and with all her books, fully expecting they would be allowed to continue their classes for the day.
“It’s discouraging,” she said. “This is not how it is supposed to be happening. They could have let us continue classes while they have this meeting.
In Parliament earlier this year, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, said the national teacher vacancy rate at the end of February was 24 000. In the Eastern Cape, this translated to 3 718 vacant posts. Motshekga told Parliament a total of 50 705 posts had been allocated for 2021.