Correctional Services spokesman Manelisi Wolela has denied allegations that student leader Mcebo Dla.
Pumza Fihlani and Nkululeko Lupuwana
Hours after Gauteng schools reopened yesterday, the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) was forecasting a bleak year for the matrics of 2007.
The union said the future of the 28 000 grade 11 pupils who failed last year was uncertain because they had to switch to a new curriculum.
The Department of Education said on Tuesday that "parallel classes" would be offered to pupils to help them adapt to the new curriculum, but Sadtu said the plan was not feasible.
Sadtu's vice president, Tseli Dipholo, said: "Teachers have not been adequately trained to deal with the new curriculum and how to deal with grade 11s who failed."
The union also refuted the department's claim that resources were available to give extra help to pupils.
"I disagree with the statement that resources are available.
"What those pupils need are trained teachers, and they are not available," said Dipholo.
According to Sadtu, 175000 matrics from last year failed and will have to rewrite the examination.
Sadtu said that the education department should help combat violence in schools because it appeared that the provinces had been left to their own devices.
To combat violence, the union said, schools needed basic security such as fences, gates, locks and security guards.
Everybody involved in the school system should to be drawn into the debate about finding a solution to the problem, the union said.
Teachers, students, education departments, school managers and the community would have to be part of the campaign against violence and anti-social behaviour in schools.
Sadtu wants research to identify the underlying causes of violence in schools and to develop programmes to end it.
Schools across the country last year became war zones.
Some of last year's incidents included:
l 18-year old Nkosana Mbhele, a grade 10 pupil at Forest High School, was stabbed to death on the school's sports field.
Mbhele, who allegedly ran a loan-shark operation at the school, was killed because he demanded R300 from his 14-year-old assailant, who allegedly owed him the money.
l In another incident Thulani Shisana, 15, was shot dead at Sikhanyisele Primary School in Mamelodi, Pretoria.
l A 16-year-old boy was stabbed to death, allegedly by a fellow pupil, at Steve Tshwete Secondary School, in Olievenhoutbosch, near Pretoria.