School in resort town faces shortage of textbooks and teachers

Jeffreys Bay high school battling as student numbers soar

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Photo of school buildings
Jeffreys Bay High School is battling shortages of teachers and textbooks. Photo: Joseph Chirume

A high school built to help poor pupils in the plush resort town of Jeffreys Bay is facing a critical shortage of textbooks and teachers. The school has no library or laboratory and the computer room is empty.

The Jeffreys Bay High School was opened in July 2015, designed to offer education to local students who had been travelling to Humansdorp and other towns for their secondary education.

The school initially opened with 472 pupils, mainly in grades 8 to 10, but the number soon increased to 756 pupils.

The school now faces several challenges as it prepares to extend enrolment to grade 11 pupils next year.

School governing body chairman Phillip Jacobs said there had been a shortage of textbooks since the school opened last year.

“We don’t have books, especially English medium textbooks for grades 8 to 10. The education department promised to deliver books, but unfortunately this has not happened.”

Jacobs said the education department had recently announced that R130,000 had been deposited to buy the books but the money was yet to be paid to the school.

“That was money on paper only, because it has not reached the school yet. The amount is not enough for a school this big. Our school is gradually growing. We add a grade every year,” he said.

Kouga Municipality Mayor Elza van Lingen said that the school faced a critical shortage of teaching staff.

“The education department is not looking after the school. That school was opened because there was such a need in Jeffreys Bay. There are less than 20 teachers for such a big school and the teacher-pupil ratio is shocking. Pupils are always crammed into a few classrooms. The principal has been absent from November last year and this is taking a toll on other teachers and the deputy principal who is now acting as principal. Kids are always in classes with nothing to do.”

Jacobs said there were children on waiting lists but not enough classrooms. He expected nearly 350 new students next year.

Eastern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said schools were supposed to register new students in May to July, not in January. He said the department budgeted for students registered in the May-July period but schools took in new pupils year round, by which time the budget had been depleted.

“That is the problem with Jeffreys Bay High School.”

Mtima said the department had told the school to buy textbooks and the department would “replace the money when available”. The school had also been urged to write a letter to the district office asking for prefab classrooms.

Acting principal E M Jonklass declined to comment.

TOPICS:  Education

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