by Aphiwe Ngowapi
George Jacques Primary School in Alicedale has finally re-opened for learners to finish off what’s left of the first term, after having been closed for a month by school governing body (SGB) members and parents.
The SGB and parents had demanded a Grade Two teacher, and an end to the department’s plans to merge their Afrikaans-medium school with the Hendrik Kanise Combined School, an English-medium school.
The education department put the merger on hold, but has still not agreed to provide the school with a Grade Two teacher. However, the school re-opened on 13 March after the Education Department’s district director, a Mr Godlo, informed Tina Marais, the school’s principal, that they were looking into all the teacher vacancies in the district.
“The parents were actually cross with the department because it never responded to them, and that’s why the school was closed. If the department was communicating with us regarding the decisions and even keeping us up to date on the processes that they were going through, the parents wouldn’t have kept the school closed,” emphasized the school’s SGB Chairperson, Danwyn Jewell.
Jewel also mentioned that they had sent numerous letters to the department with no response, and felt undermined by this. After the communication from Godlo, the parents held a meeting where the majority decided that school should re-open.
As the government continues with its “process”, the grade two learners and the Alicedale community say they can only wait for the process to be finalised, and that hopefully, a satisfying solution will be reached for everyone involved.