‘No teachers, no education’ - concerned parents shut down school

PARENTS from the farming area of Pakkies have vowed to close Thibane Combined School until the Department of Education (DoE) provides extra teachers.

On Monday, parents locked school entrances and prevented teachers and pupils from entering the school, forcing pupils to return home.

They said Grade 12 pupils have been without a maths and accounting teacher since May and blamed the DoE for not filling the vacancies.

“We approached the DoE about the shortage of teachers but were unsuccessful. Parents asked a teacher from another school to teach maths and accounting but the teacher was not accepted by the DoE,” said concerned parent Nokwakha Maduna.

“The DoE told us that there will be no extra teachers employed at the school because there are few pupils. Parents then became angry,” she said.

The school has 250 pupils from Grade R to Grade 12 and there are nine teachers, including the school principal. According to parents, teachers from Grade 7 to Grade 12 share more than three subjects while Grade 3 and Grade 4 pupils share one teacher.

Parent Mapello Pakkies said the school was built by community members in 1990 to enable their children to have a better future.

She asked the DoE to assist the school with extra teachers so that pupils can produce good results by the end of the year.

In 2016, the school was the worst performing school in Kokstad as only one out of the 12 matric pupil passed. In 2017, the school achieved a 50% matric pass rate.

Parents said in 2007 the school was the best performing school because there were ample teachers.

Things changed after the DoE reduced the number of subjects and teachers. Another parent, Zithobile Pakkies, said her 19-year-old daughter is in matric and is disappointed by the shortage of teachers.

“Matrics will be writing trial exams next month with no teachers for some subjects,” she said. The Fever approached DoE Harry Gwala district director Sindi Zakuza-Njakazi on Monday for comment. She promised to respond as soon as “enough information” was made available to her.