Calitzdorp parents shut school gates due to excessive overcrowding

Parents and the School's Governing Body at Excelsior Primary School in Calitzdorp, Western Cape, have shut the gates and refuse to open them until the Western Cape Department of Education steps in with a concrete action plan to deal with conditions at the school.

The parents are saying no learner should be subject to the hellish conditions of overcrowding and lack of teachers.

Secretary of Excelsior Primary School SGB, Colleen Murphy says in grades 3 and 5 classes there are more than 66 children with only one teacher.

She says the teacher in the Grade 3 class has decided to split the class into two forcing her to run between the two classes, a tiring and impractical solution.

Read: WCED objects to education dept making history compulsory

The permanent teacher had a breakdown because the situation with overcrowded classes did not just start this year it started two years ago.

Colleen Murphy, SGB secretary - Excelsior Primary School

The teachers are struggling with discipline problems and there are kids who have reported bullying and parents have reported children having to deal with anxiety because of this.

Colleen Murphy, SGB secretary - Excelsior Primary School

Murphy says after they submitted the school's numbers to the Education Department the district circuit manager came to the school to see these problems.

The district circuit manager's response was that the school does not qualify to have an extra teacher so "good luck".

Colleen Murphy, SGB secretary - Excelsior Primary School

Now parents have reached their boiling point. What we are hoping to achieve is to focus people's attention to what is going on at the schools because we are not an isolated case.

Colleen Murphy, SGB secretary - Excelsior Primary School

Also, we want to bring to the attention of the MEC to come to Calitzdorp, look at the school, engage in a conversation with us because she is the person to make a final decision and send the teachers that we need.

Colleen Murphy, SGB secretary - Excelsior Primary School

Director of Communications at Western Cape Education Department, Bronagh Hammond says according to the circuit manager's report the school did not submit an application for an extra post because the schools that have applied received extra teachers.

The circuit manager was on her way to the school to confirm the numbers when the protest started given that they did not apply for an extra post.

Bronagh Hammond, Director of communications - Western Cape Education Department

The principal needs to apply for an extra post. There is a process to be followed.

Bronagh Hammond, Director of communications - Western Cape Education Department

We need to do this in a way that looks at all the demands, the number of learners as well as the teacher available because we do have a shortage of teachers in the Western Cape.

Bronagh Hammond, Director of communications - Western Cape Education Department

To hear the rest of the conversations, listen below:


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