The North West Education MEC, Mmaphefo Matsemela condemns in strongest terms the disruption of learning and teaching caused by learners at Onkgopotse Tiro Combined, near Mafikeng which started on Monday, 19 August 2019 until to date.

The School Governing Body called for an urgent meeting to resolve the protracted protest of the learners who disrupted learning and teaching for almost four days. The SGB resolved that on Friday, 23 August 2019, learners should go back to their homes since they were not interested in attending school. They should come back to school accompanied by their parents on Tuesday at 10:00 and they will be given an opportunity in the presence of their parents to indicate if they wanted to attend school or not.

Late last year the department realized that the schools hostels were not safe and needed renovations. The department decided to relocate all the 296 learners who resided in the school hostels to Boitseanape and Batswana Secondary school hostels to allow them not to be affected by the renovation process. All the learners residing in the hostels are provided with meals three times per day and transported to school and back.

The appointed contractor could not finish the renovations on time according to the agreed period and ended up leaving the site. The learners eventually started complaining that, renovations were taking a long time.

On Monday, 19 August 2019 the learners embarked on a full scale protest by disrupting teaching and learning process. They burned tyres at the gate of the school and did not want to attend classes. They demanded a speedy completion of the school hostels and complained about the conditions of buses which transport them to school. They also wanted educators to be evicted from the Teachers Quarters houses so that, they can move in.

The North West Education MEC, Mmaphefo Matsemela condemned in strongest terms the behaviour of learners.

“I am really disappointed and dismayed by the disrespectful behaviour displayed by our own learners. I condemn this behaviour in strongest terms as something that is highly unacceptable to the department. We are now in the third quarter of the year and this is a very crucial period. We don’t expect any learner to be out of class.

“These complaints are totally irrelevant and misguided because we have already provided them with an alternative accommodation and transport. The complaints made by learners are not curriculum based. The teachers have been waiting at school to teach. We are currently in the process of securing another contractor to finish off the renovations”, said MEC Matsemela.

Learners together with their parents will be expected to report back at school on Tuesday, 27 August 2019 at 10:00. Teaching and learning is expected to take place on Wednesday, 28 August 2019 and teachers will be ready to implement the recovery plan for the lost days.

Author: tkhechane