Pupils of Kuruman in the Northern Cape will miss out on a year of education after provincial government announced that they will repeat their classes in 2015.
“No road, no school” protests
The angry communities in Kuruman has banned their children from going back to school after the winter holidays with a campaign of “no tarred road, no school”. The parents of the children along with the communities demand more than 200km of tarred roads before they will allow their children to continue their education at local primary and high schools in Kuruman. With Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s countless attempts to reconcile with angry parents falling on deaf ears, the children of the community will now need to repeat their school year in 2015 as they have only received half a year’s education and will not be able to take their exams at the end of the school year. And with only days till the start of the matric exams, matriculants will also not be able to take their national matric exams, having to put their life on hold until 2015 to be able to continue with their tertiary education and careers.
16 455 learners from 50 schools were affected
More than 50 schools were forced to shut down in June after the community started the protest and is affecting 16 455 learnings of which 469 pupils are matriculants from the 8 high schools in the community. And while the Northern Cape education department has expressed its “disappointment on the continued infringement on the rights of our children to education by the parents and communities”, parents are still adamant that, unless they see work being started on the dirt roads, no pupils will be allowed to attend school.
“[It was decided] that all Grade 12 learners of the affected eight high schools be deregistered and reregistered as part-time learners. This will afford them the opportunity to prepare and write supplementary exams in February and March 2015. All Grade R to Grade 11 learners will be allowed to redo their current grades in 2015, as they have been unable to complete a full academic year in the system.” Provincial education spokesperson Sidney Stander
Thousands of children refused the right to basic education
Socio-economic constraints and political agendas are the bane of every developing country, but the latest protests in Kuruman is refusing their children the right to basic education in favour of the development of a tar road, all which can have far-reaching consequences to the progress of learners during the remainder of their school career. Now more than ever children are heavily reliant on community educational services and volunteer organisations to keep their minds busy and ensure that they go back to school to complete their matric diploma when the time comes – not dropping out of school altogether.
Dreams To Reality is a volunteer organisation that supports the communities of Vrygrond, Capricorn and Imizamo Yethu in Cape Town with educational support and childcare programs aimed at increasing the living standards of children in the community.
Image: City Press