Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
An Mpumalanga school principal yesterday locked out about 50 pupils because they arrived late for lessons.
The Central Secondary pupils, in KaNyamazane outside Nelspruit, said they were late because:
l They had had to walk a long way.
l They had siblings to look after.
l They had overslept.
One pupil, who did not want to be named, said: "I live with my younger sister who is 10.
"I have to prepare her for school every morning before I leave."
The principal, Mzwandile Sibiya, refused to comment when Sowetan asked him if it was the school's policy to lock out the latecomers. Instead, he referred Sowetan to Hlahla Ngwenya, who is the Education Department's spokesman.
The children said the school should deal with latecomers in other ways.
"We can clean classrooms or pick up papers in the school yard," said a pupil.
They wanted to know why, when a teacher was late, he or she was allowed into the school.
They could not understand why they were not.
Education MEC Siphosezwe Masango said it was up to pupils and teachers to agree on what should be done if a pupil was late for school.
"Latecomers need to be made to feel that what they are doing is wrong," said Masango.