By Aphiwe Ngowapi and Selinathi Botha
The school term is almost over and George Jacques Primary school learners have not started class. On 13 February 2023, parents, community and SGB members locked the school gates in protest as they demanded a grade two teacher.
Angry parents and community members burned tyres, chanting, “The school will remain closed”, when the school principal, Tina Marais, informed them that their meeting with a District official would not take place.
“I told the district director I would let the parents know that no one is coming. He said it was fine,” said Marais. As the principal, Marais pleaded with the parents to open the school on Monday, 6 March, because the learners had already missed out on more than half of the school term.
A grade seven parent, Alverine Vroulik, said, “I personally feel that the schools should open on Monday. Parents of Alicedale, our kids are the ones suffering, while the department officials’ kids are in private schools. Our kids’ education is falling behind. We as parents must open the school and hire a taxi to Makhanda, straight to Xalabile’s office, that’s all.”
“We are going to stand together here because the majority says the school must stay closed, and that is the majority. Until the official arrives, then we will decide for the school to be open,” replied Brendon Klaase.
The Department of Education officials visited Alicedale on the 15th of February and addressed the aggrieved community, saying they would get back to the community within seven days. It has been three weeks now and the district officials still need to address the community; the school is still not open and the grade two learners are without a teacher.
Grocott’s Mail first reported on this story here.