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Fri Oct 31 02:01:57 SAST 2014

Every pupil in Olifantshoek has to repeat grade

Sapa | 26 November, 2012 17:24
This picture shows the burned-down administration building of Nametsegang High School in Kuruman. The school is one of 62 in the Northern Cape where no teaching has taken place since protesters stopped education in its tracks in June.
Image by: SHELLEY CHRISTIANS

All Grade One to 11 pupils in Olifantshoek, in the Northern Cape, will repeat their 2012 grades next year, a provincial education official said on Monday.

Spokesman Sidney Stander said it was impossible for the children to reach the minimum standards required to pass after missing six months of schooling.

Parents and other residents stopped about 2500 pupils from going to school as part of a service delivery protest and campaign against mayor Maria Diniza.

National government officials and community leaders visited the area during 2012 in a failed attempt to change their minds.

Stander said planning for the 2013 school year in the area was well advanced.

"There is huge support from all involved to pick up the pieces of what had happened and support the children for 2013."

The Democratic Alliance in the province said it would approach the provincial legislature to ask education MEC Grizelda Cjiekella and the police to explain plans to make sure schooling takes place in 2013.

DA spokesman Allan Grootboom said the department’s decision prejudiced pupils who might have tried to beat the odds and study for the final exams.

"These learners should have at least been afforded the opportunity by the department to write their exams."

Grootboom said the department’s decision in effect meant that Olifantshoek would have no matric pupils for the 2013 school year.

The DA said the provincial government had failed the town's pupils. The police had shown a lack of urgency in finding and arresting those responsible for the violence and intimidation.

"To date, only one arrest has been made on a charge of intimidation and the case has not even been brought to court yet," Grootboom said.

The DA said it was not clear whether schooling would resume next year, as the residents' grievance about the mayor had still not been resolved.

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