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Parents in Northern Areas and DA want more protection for learners

By Afikile Lugunya - Jul 11, 2018
Parents in Northern Areas and DA want more protection for learners

Parents from the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth on Wednesday told Nelson Mandela Bay Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, how dangerous schools have become in their areas. 

Trollip and the parents where joined by Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi, DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Sonja Boshoff MP, and DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren MPL, at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in Port Elizabeth, where the party argued that a certain number of teachers must stay with learners whenever there are strikes so as to protect the childrens' right of safety.

“We made submissions to the Essential Services Committee to say that we have to look at safety of learners, who are at school during strikes when teachers are not there. 

“Based on the submissions, they gave us allocated estates for different provinces, which are the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, the Free State and the Gauteng,” Marchesi described.

She added that issue of nutrition and the health of the children were among the things the DA is advocating for. 

"If you bring a child to school, you expect the teachers to take care of your child from a certain period of time to a certain period of time,” she said.

Van Vuuren MPL said that it was time teachers stopped using learners in their classes in their fights with the Department of Education.

"As a Principal for 18 years I've had very bad experience where I had to look after the children, stay behind with no resources or tools and for us to be here today, is to see that there is legislation and certain individuals are declared essential at our schools," he described. 

Trollip said that he once heard someone saying that "education is not our baby" and in response he said that education is about educating "our babies". 

"As people of this Metro, these are our children, and the responsibilities of teachers is to take care of our children while the parents are out working or looking for work," he said. 

Trollip said that some schools have been become very dangerous that many incidents have been reported of learners stabbing one another while at school and the danger becomes even worse when all the teachers are absent during strikes. 

Rev.Moodley, a resident of Malabar and also a parent of two little girls, who attend Malabar Primary, said that his girls and other learners should not be left unattended during strike actions, “that is not acceptable.”

“I believe that learners should be prioritised and that is a role of teachers, securities, caretakers, who work at school,” he added.

Meanwhile, a local mother, Hanna Smith, said: “My child attends Fontein Primary School, which situated in the Northern Areas, and its overcrowded whilst there is gangsterism around, which makes a room for fights and more crime and the safety of the child becomes at more risk when there is a strike.  

“My advice is that the Principals must take priority of the school and supervise the children especially when there is a strike.”

She added that guns and shootings get reported almost every year in the Northern Areas schools and she fears for her 10-year-old child.