Subsidy decides who writes matric

Tebogo Monama and Nomzamo Mashiloane

Tebogo Monama and Nomzamo Mashiloane

The director of Siyaphambili Secondary School in Orange Farm on the Vaal is greedy.

This is what the parents and pupils at the school say because some Grade 12 pupils were told they would not write the end of year examinations because "they are not smart enough".

But the real issue is related to subsidies.

Lorraine Hlophe, whose daughter Nompumelo Dlamini, 17, will not write the exam, said: "The director is lying when he says that our children came to the school in the middle of the academic year. My daughter started at the school in Grade 8 and now she can't write [the exam]."

Pupils at the school are classified as candidates A and candidates B. Candidates A are the ones school management believe will pass. The others whose ability is "suspect" will write next June as part-time candidates.

Teachers claim that director Michael Mabaso wants to register pupils who will pass because the school relies on a subsidy from the education department. If the matriculants achieve a 50 percent pass rate there is a R7000 subsidy for each pupil. If the pass rate is lower the school does not get any money.

Mabaso refused to speak to Sowetan and referred enquiries to the education department.

The South African Independent Schools Teachers Association's Jankie Makala said: "This is not an isolated incident. Independent schools are trying everything possible to get the money. Most of the schools were formed in informal settlements before the government declared them townships. The children did not have anywhere to go so people decided to open schools.

"We wish the department would change its policy on subsiding schools to protect pupils and teachers who are trapped by greedy school directors."