Classroom clamp on age and fees

Lenyaro Sello and Alex Matlala

Lenyaro Sello and Alex Matlala

The principal of Mokgalaka- Molemole High School in Waterberg district, Limpopo, has been accused of refusing to readmit some of the pupils who failed grade 12 last year because they are too old.

And the principal of Modubatse High School, in Modjadjiskloof, also in Limpopo, has refused to give textbooks to pupils whose parents failed to pay their school fees.

The parents of pupils of the Mokgalaka-Molemole school are angry at the principal's decision.

"Our children are considered old because they are between 20 and 22. Why do they do that? What is the policy governing the admission age, because now our children cannot learn?" said Matome Masa, a parent whose child was refused readmission by the principal.

Not one pupil at Mokgalaka- Molemole passed matric last year.

The principal, Martha Maredi, has disputed the parents' accusations.

"I did not refuse the pupils schooling. I referred them to an adult basic education and training [Abet] centre."

"They are old and the law does not allow people of their age to be in a normal school. They have to get adult training," said Maredi.

Masa said: "When we took our children to the nearby schools they were accepted and nobody asked about their age."

Limpopo Education Department spokesman Ndo Mangala said: "The South African Schools Act states that a learner repeats once, but in practice that does not happen everyday."

"The department does not encourage that learners be kicked out of school.

"One should examine the circumstances first because in rural schools most pupils go to school late and get to matric at an advanced age.

"We will be investigating the matter."

Pupils and the management of Modubatse High School are at loggerheads after an announcement by the management that school books would be given only to pupils who had paid their school fees.

The school principal reportedly announced during an assembly that pupils would have to pay R200 before they would be given books.

Pupils and parents have demanded an explanation .

Pupils who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity confirmed that they were denied books because their parents had not paid their school fees.