#BackToSchool: 'Incompetent' principal, overcrowding protests mar first day
Some classes were disrupted at Sokhanyo Primary School in Gugulethu after disgruntled parents and the school Governing body (SGB) held a demonstration inside the school premises calling for the Western Cape Education Department to dismiss the “incompetent” principal.
“He has turned the school into a circus, everyone is confused including the teachers. Children from different grades have been mixed in one class. An example, the Grade 1 class has been mixed with Grade 5s.
"All these changes were taken without consulting the SGB or the teachers. The classes are overcrowded meaning there will be no quality learning. On Monday, he hit a teacher and she is at hospital.
“Enough is enough, he must go,” said SGB member Pamela Booi.
WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said officials would visit the school today and the teacher who was allegedly assaulted by the principal has In Bishop Lavis, residents have given the department until tomorrow to respond to their grievances, which includes additional staff members to balance the teacher and pupil ratio, improved security measures and a janitor at Bergville Primary School.
The parents, the principal and a group called the Bishop Lavis Action Community staged a peaceful protest outside the school.
Bergville Primary School principal Aleem Abrahams said: “Every year the school writes to WCED about understaffing and the number of children a teacher has in a class.
"The answer has always been there are no funds. It is impossible for quality learning to take place when a class built for 30 pupils has to accommodate 60 and 72 pupils.”
Hammond said officials had looked at the numbers of pupils enrolled in the school earlier this week and discussions have already taken place regarding additional posts for the school.
“The district director has requested that two posts be provided. Unfortunately, we will see some schools with big class sizes at the beginning of the school year.
“We cannot always predict what numbers schools will enrol.
‘‘We plan as far as possible in the preceding year, however, late enrolments and arrivals, as well as promotion and progression numbers, can result in increases in certain grades.
“That is why the WCED keeps back some posts for allocation to schools where increases occur.
“Schools then apply to the district for additional posts and posts are provided according to needs and availability.
‘‘Over the next few weeks we will have various requests from schools as pupil numbers stabilise and class sizes are determined.”
The fire in the Cederberg has affected Wupperthal Moravian Primary.
The school did not reopen following a fire that raged through the small town on New Year’s Eve and saw 53 buildings destroyed, including the school hostel, affecting 150 pupils.
“WCED decided last week to delay the opening of the school by three days in order for the department to arrange emergency transport for pupils.
‘‘The majority of the pupils resided in the hostel, therefore, transport is required.
“The WCED are making arrangements currently and are also looking at possible alternatives for temporary hostel accommodation.”