Pupils idle after protesters burn school
SOME pupils watched in horror as neighbours, friends and even their parents burnt down their school.
Other pupils took part in destroying the school - the only secondary school in the area.
Yesterday pupils of Tlotlang Thuto Middle School in Bona Bona near Morokweng in North West appealed to the government for help.
They have not attended classes since the beginning of this term.
The school was destroyed by angry residents three weeks ago during a service delivery protest. Yesterday about 80 pupils reported to the destroyed school building, hoping to be taught, but they were sent back home because there were no teaching materials.
A computer lab with 15 computers, two classroom blocks, an administration block and a staff room were destroyed.
Kenalemang Oageng, who took part in the protest, said when they protested and burnt down the school they did not think it would affect the education of their children.
"We only wanted the government to act fast. It is because of their lies that our children are not in school now. I blame it (the government) for this," Oageng said.
The protesters demanded tarred roads, electricity and water in their area. They have to walk about 23km to get to the nearest town. They also buy water as their taps are dry.
One of the pupils, 15-year-old Ogone Lebatle, said he was deeply hurt by what had happened.
"We have lost so much already, this is our third term and we have not done anything," he said.
The school comprises 153 pupils, from grades 7 to 10 and six teachers including the principal.
A Grade 8 pupil, Tetlanyo Shashape, 14, said she was frustrated and disappointed.
"We have been coming to school for three days now and nothing happened," she said.
The teachers also looked helpless and demoralised.
"We cannot teach the pupils because this place is totally unusable. We thought by now the department of education would have helped us but nothing has happened," said one of the teachers.
The teachers said even if they can get mobile classes or any shelter they would be happy. They believe that nothing can be done to recover the lost time for the learners.
"We have lost 70% of the work and it's impossible to catch up. The Grade 9 and 10s are going to suffer the most. We are also understaffed," said demoralised teachers.
The provincial department of education said it would not prioritise the rebuilding of the school.
The department's spokesman, Gershwin Chuenyane, said: "The department is not going to prioritise the rebuilding of the school that was damaged during the service delivery protest. Pupils still have their learning material."
Catherine Gasenomore, a teacher at the school whose granddaughter is in Grade 7, said: "Oratile (her granddaughter) always asks me to teach her at home because she is behind with her school work. She said she does not want to fail. I do not know what to say to her.
"The government must stop watching children's education been blown away by the wind."