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Parents shut down Walmer Primary School over impasse with ECDOE

May 16, 2019
Parents shut down Walmer Primary School over impasse with ECDOE

Walmer Primary School parents accuse ECDOE of ignoring their plight

Port Elizabeth - Walmer Primary School parents say they are prepared to continue with their shutdown of the school following an impasse with the Eastern Cape Department of Education over the appointment of a Principal at the school.

The parents shut down the school on Wednesday.

"There has been wide-scale disregard for the school by the District official(s) in the Nelson Mandela [Education] District," Lindiwe Jackson, who is the scribe for Andile Gebuza, Secretary for the Walmer Primary School School Governing Body (SGB), told RNEWS.

She said that there is an Education Development Officer (EDO), (his name was shared with RNEWS) "who has neglected and, thus, abused procedures by undermining the powers of the school's SGB".

"The SGB has tried to tactfully engage with the Department regarding a number of grievances with no positive end in sight."

Jackson said that the previous Walmer Primary School principal resigned and was pensioned in the midst of a forensic investigation into the school’s finances and nutrition scheme in August last year.

She said that an acting Principal was appointed. However "she left the school mid-month - in March, simply stating that she is going to the Doctor, never to be heard of again" - the SGB had filed a grievance against her in January of this year.

Jackson said parents have now decided to shut down the school to highlight their plight to the Eastern Cape Department of Education.

"There will be no classes for the rest of the week.  But teachers will be present at the school," she added.

'[The shut down] will continue until the department gives us the dates to shortlisting/ interviewing candidates."

Walmer parents say there are also teacher shortages at the school

 Jackson said that the Walmer community is in full support of the shut down.

"The community at large is in full support of this strike because, since last year the Department of Education, specifically one [name withheld] has undermined the SGB’s mandate and procedural rights and in most instances has failed to provide shortlisting dates for the permanent appointment of a Principal and other promotional posts to the point that at instances the children, for the first two weeks of this second semester,  were not eating because kitchen staff, suppliers and Grade R teachers were not being paid because for some reason or another the school’s cheque book was with the department, which is illegal," she explained.

"On May 13, a letter was sent out to the parents; the letter stated that there would be a meeting on May 14 and it was decided that there should be a strike because the lack of movement is frustrating and there is no accountability.

"Please also note that there is no English Teacher as from February of this year - it begs the question what marks were submitted in the first quarter similarly with Natural Sciences in Grade 5.

"Again, we are unable to proceed because [name withled] is simply not interested in providing us with dates."

Jackson said that the parents are hoping that the Eastern Cape Department of Education gets the message that parents are "frustrated with the department by the continued undermining of our full governing authority, we are in full swing in our shortlisting processes to fill vacancies, but there is no support and we would like to be provided dates to complete these tasks".

"We have had many discussions with the department, which we deemed fruitful, but when there must be actions taken by the Department to ensure the smooth running of the school, we are not supported by the school’s EDO."

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