matric plan flops
The KwaZulu-Natal department of education has disputed that its programme to assist last year's matric failures to improve on the subjects they had failed is falling apart.
This after pupils attending classes at centres provided by the department were left without teachers last week.
According to an earlier schedule the department said the programme had initially been designed to run on a Saturdays, with extra classes during the Easter holidays.
The affected pupils say they were instead greeted by locked school gates. Schools broke up for the Easter holidays, despite being told by the teachers that there would be weekday classes.
Now they fear for the worst and say all hope of improving their matric results have been dashed.
"We are worried that we will fail again. This was supposed to be in place to help us. But it is not happening as promised," said a pupil.
More than 50000 pupils in the province failed matric last year and a large number of them jumped at the opportunity to improve their results and registered to start in February.
It is the first time that the department of education has provided such a programme for failed Grade 12 pupils.
The department said yesterday it had made it clear from the beginning that the classes were to be held on Saturdays only.
Classes were not held last Saturday because it was the Easter weekend.
"We made an exception that classes would not be held last Saturday only and pupils attending these classes were surely made aware of this at their respective centres," said education spokesman Mbali Thusi.
Thusi said the department had at no stage said the tuition programme would also run during the March holidays.
However, Sowetan is in possession of a press statement that was issued by the department on January 10, stating that tuition would be provided on Saturdays from 8.30am to 2.30pm and Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 3pm during the March school holidays at selected venues.
Spokesman for the provincial Congress of South African Students (Cosas) Isaac Luthuli said his office was in possession of a circular issued to them by the department stating that classes would take place on Saturdays and during the March holidays.
"We were surprised to hear reports by pupils that classes were not being held during weekdays during the March holidays.
"Cosas will meet department officials and MEC Ina Cronje to demand that classes be held on weekdays during these holidays as promised," Luthuli said.
He urged pupils to study at home, using their last year's study materials.