Teachers quit

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The future of 150 pupils at Sewelabatho Secondary School in Limpopo looks bleak after some teachers left the school last year.

The school in Monte Christo near Steiloop now has about 150 pupils after angry parents withdrew their children in protest following a protracted corporal punishment feud last year. The school had 272 pupils in 2007.

Pupils who do English, economics and life orientation in Grades 8 and 12 now have to sit idle during these periods because there are no teachers for the subjects.

Some end up gambling for money while others sleep in their classrooms during the periods.

Pleas to the education department for teachers to be deployed have allegedly fallen on deaf ears - rendering the school virtually ungovernable .

Angry community members yesterday converged outside the school to discuss the way forward.

School principal Sarel Semenya said only three pupils out of 35 passed matric last year.

School governing body chairman Silas Ramusi said the pupils had failed because teachers resigned from the school in January last year after a protracted feud between them and members of the community.

Ramusi said this was after a Grade 10 pupil committed suicide after he was "brutally assaulted" by a teacher during lessons.

"Soon after the incident, parents demanded that the teacher in question be expelled together with the school principal - who had also allegedly assaulted another pupil earlier that year.

"Not long after that, other teachers left the school - leaving the children in a predicament."

Ramusi said that because of the situation some parents withdrew their children to send to other schools because the department of education was unable to resolve the problem.

He said they have since written many letters to the department but all in vain.

Provincial spokesman for the department of education, Ndo Mangala, said the community had fired the teachers last year after accusing them of applying corporal punishment to pupils.

He said, however, that the department was working around the clock to address the problem.