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No end in sight to schools 'spying' row

By unknown | May 14, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The strike by teachers at Roseland Primary School in Newlands East, Durban, over spy cameras in classrooms, has entered its fourth week.

Teachers are still refusing to teach until the closed-circuit television cameras are removed from their classrooms.

The teachers went on strike on April 16 demanding the removal of the cameras and accusing the principal of spying on them.

The school has 1500 pupils.

Meanwhile, parents are fed up. They want to know what it is that the teachers are trying to hide. Substitute teachers, interns as well as some parents are helping with teaching.

Three weeks ago, education officials ordered the principal to remove the cameras.

The department of education's Simon Mbokazi, during a meeting with the teachers, initially suggested that the cameras be de-activated until the issue was sorted out. The teachers refused and instead insisted that the cameras should be removed before they could go back to class.

Yesterday, principal S'thembiso Lushozi said: "The school is situated in an area crawling with notorious criminals. The decision to instal the cameras was taken to ensure the safety of the pupils, teachers and school property. It was the governing body that made the decision in the interest of safety for all. I merely implemented their decision. This area is not safe."

Lushozi said he was not part of the meeting that took the decision to remove the cameras. He had also not received any written directive from the department about the decision.

"The department took a decision to remove the cameras. They are the ones that are supposed to instruct the security company to remove the cameras," he said.

Lushozi admits that maybe there was not enough consultation with the teachers on the matter but said teachers should also remember that consultation does not mean "consent".

Yesterday, teachers sat in the staff room, refusing to go to their classrooms. They have been doing so for the past four weeks.


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