New teachers back as pupils end boycott

Boitumelo Tshehle

Boitumelo Tshehle

At exactly 7.45am the siren at Thuto-Botshelo Primary School wailed and pupils ran to assembly to pray at the beginning of another day of learning.

It was a very different scene from two days earlier when they had boycotted classes after they, their parents and members of the school governing body had sent four new permanent teachers packing.

They had shown the teachers the door because they had been sent to replace five temporary teachers at the school in Mmabatho, North West.

On Monday and Tuesday only one Grade 3 pupil had reported for class. But on Wednesday 215 turned up.

The pupils had pleaded with the education authorities to retain the temporary teachers until the end of the year, but their pleas had fallen on deaf ears.

Chairman of the governing body Onkemetse Mogwaditlha said there was nothing they could do because the provincial education department had made up its mind.

"We had no option and have now welcomed the new [permanent] teachers," Mogwaditlha said. "The pupils are beginning to get used to them."

The North West education department last month terminated 2000 temporary teachers' contracts.

One of the temporary teachers said: "How am I going to pay my son's school fees? I am unemployed. The area project office manager had promised that our posts would become permanent."

Education spokesman Charles Raseala said: "We expect to publish new vacancies in the Government Gazette over the next two months. Temporary teachers can also apply."