This statement is issued by students-leaders at Sizimisele Technical School in Khayelitsha. It is being distributed by Equal Education on their behalf.
Hundreds of learners at Sizimisele Technical School have been without teachers for about a month. The subjects affected are mainly Maths, Physical Science, Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering, for grades 10, 11 and 12.
Today we are picketing at the provincial legislature on Wale street in Cape Town because we believe as students our rights are being violated. As the June exams come closer we are falling further behind. We are also unable to apply to tertiary institutions because we have received no reports this year.
Our school, Sizimisele Technical School, in Makhaya, Khayelitsha, was established in 2002. It has been located in Strand and Elsiesriver, but since 2006, when a new school building was constructed, it has been permanently in Khayelitsha. In 2009 the school became a technical school. This has meant that engineering and design subjects have been introduced, and subjects like accounting, history and geography are being phased out. The school has dropped from 1,300 learners to 915 learners.
As a result of the change of subjects, and the reduction of students, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) says that we had 9 teachers on permanent contracts who were in excess. However the problem was that these were not in the right subjects – they were not technical subject teachers. The school therefore arranged six extra teachers on contracts to teach the technical subjects. The problem is that for the past four months these teachers have not been paid.
Therefore these five teachers stopped working a month ago. The School Governing Body (SGB) was able to pay the teachers R4,000 each to cover the past few months, but this only brought them back for a few days. There seems to be a disagreement between the WCED and the principal, Mr Maruping. The WCED says that he should not have hired these additional teachers. But how else were we supposed to be taught?
The simple fact is that we are without teachers in key subjects, and our rights are being violated daily.
For the past few weeks we have been organising to change the situation. The Representative Council of Learners (RCL) held meetings of learners, and held meetings with the principal. Students mobilised to picket outside the WCED head office in Cape Town. On Wednesday 23 April Mr John Lyners told us that the District Director, Mr Melvin Caroline, would come to meet us at our school the next day. We waited for Mr Caroline but he did not come. Therefore hundreds of students picketed at the WCED head office on Thursday 24 April. We suspended our protest when the WCED gave us an official letter saying that all problems would be resolved by Monday 5 May. But today there were still no teachers! Grade 12 Maths Literacy students are also without textbooks. Our grievances have not been taken seriously.
We therefore place the following demands:
– That the WCED provide our school with teachers and that their immediate task be to start with an urgent catch up plan for our June exams.
– We demand that our graded 12 learners be provided with Maths Literacy exams.
– We demand that the teachers hired be paid so that they do not leave the school.
– We demand that we be given our progress reports for this year.
Failure to meet our demands, we will take further actions to enforce our rights!
For more information contact:
Asanele Mvendaba (learner, grade 12)
073 954 1474
Kedebonele Legoale (learner, grade 11)
073 468 3335
Lindokuhle Ncalu (learner, grade 11)
084 089 8904
Nishal Robb (EE head of Campaigns)
079 511 6790