Students close down Masiphumelele school

Protest against levy, textbooks, suspensions

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Photo of school students protesting in Fish Hoek.
Students protested at the Department of Education office in Fish Hoek. Photo by Thembela Ntongana.

Masiphumelele High School shut down today as students boycotted classes in protest about conditions at the school and about the suspension of students.

Twenty students were told not to return to school this year and were told it was because of their behaviour.

Grade 12 student Bathandile Koni, one of the student representatives, said school management had failed to address the school’s problems.

“There are not enough textbooks. We are told to share. We are in Grade 12 and don’t have a lot of time. We have to study, we need the resources.” said Koni.

He said though it is a no-fee school, students are expected to pay R120 a year.

“Some of the parents do not work and can not afford to pay. But if you don’t pay you don’t get your report. And if you pay and lose the receipt, at the end of the year you don’t get your report to go to the next grade,” said Koni.

Students’ demands included more textbooks, the scrapping of the R120 levy and the introduction of extra-mural activities.

Grade ten student Sbulele Adam said he had been suspended but he did not know why.

He said some teachers refused to stop corporal punishment and some students were told to leave the school if they were considered “too old” for their grade.

“Where will we go if we are chased out of the school? Which school will take us with ‘no return’ in our reports?” he asked.

School Governing Body chairperson Silulami Atwill Mtirara addressed a meeting of parents and students. He promised to address the issues raised by the students.

“We will have to come up with a solution by working together as management and students.”

GroundUp was told that the school principal was not available because he had gone to an important meeting.

When students heard that the principal was not at the school and would not be returning, they marched to the Department of Education in Fish Hoek where they were met with closed doors.

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TOPICS:  Education

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