Troubled school has drug and pregnancy epidemic

Thozi Manyisana

Thozi Manyisana

The Kei Road Combined School in the Eastern Cape has a severe drug abuse and teenage pregnancy problem, MEC for education Johnny Makgatho said yesterday.

Makgatho was at the school to accept a "torch of peace" from the Limpopo MEC for education, Aaron Motsoaledi.

Makgatho said Education Minister Naledi Pandor had decided the torch - a symbol for the national campaign against violence - should go to Kei next after hearing reports of violence and drug abuse at the school.

"If you take drugs and engage in violence at school you are not going anywhere. Our schools are terrains of violence instead of learning and teaching," Motsoaledi told the students.

He said that last year three pupils had died outside the school's premises from disputes that had started inside school premises.

He added that theft and vandalism were so rife that at some stage police had been forced to guard the school.

Makgatho also lambasted teachers who came to school drunk and then sent school children to buy them liquor during school hours.

He urged parents to take a greater interest in the schools their children attended and ensure that their children did not take drugs or get involved in acts of violence at school.

The school principal, Loyiso Dyani, said since Sowetan had run a story about a drug bust at the school the Education Department had erected fencing, which had improved security.

He said school children were also being searched at the gate and that steps would be taken against any child found with weapons or drugs.

Makghato said the country was faced with a "headache" of drug abuse and violence in schools.

"Together as the government and parents we should fight this scourge before it gets out of hands," he said.

He said that teenage pregnancy was another problem at schools and urged parents to talk about sex with their children.

Makghato is expected to hand over the torch to a school in KwaZulu-Natal on April 11.

He said the torch would go to all schools in the province in an effort to fight violence and drug abuse in schools.