Parents and pupils to rebuild vandalised school

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Fed up with escalating crime and vandalism at their school, the parents and community of Georgetown High School in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg, have joined hands to fix up their school.

Vandals, who have had easy access to the school premises because it does not have a proper fence, have been destroying the building.

The turnaround plan includes a massive clean-up campaign and the removal of vagrants and vandals from the schoolyard. It involves the hard work of parents, teachers as well as pupils - present and past.

The school has always enjoyed a successful academic history, but last year it recorded a matric pass rate of only 15percent and a high absenteeism rate.

Acting school principal Bongani Mnikathi said education officials, the school's staff and parents, decided they had to work together to rebuild their school and make the atmosphere conducive to learning.

They felt the clean environment would also improve academic results.

"The cost of the rebuilding is about R500000.

"We decided that it was difficult to get the money from the education department, so we opted for sponsors to donate materials.

"One of our former students, who is a local businessman, volunteered to clean up one part of the school.

"Our students and others from nearby schools have volunteered to help us in the rebuilding," said Mnikathi

Last week the group began the task of fixing windows and cleaning corridors. Another local business donated fencing material to close the school to outsiders. Mnikathi said they would take over the refurbishing project, with teachers and pupils doing the clean-up themselves.

"We are grateful for the help we had at the start and thank those who are helping to make our school do what it does best - teaching and educating our students," said Mnikathi.

There are 1300 pupils at Georgetown. The school was started in 1957 and some of its old boys include SACP leader Blade Nzimande and Durban clergyman Pastor Vusi Dube.