Schools mergers grounded

Michael Sakuneka

Michael Sakuneka

The Limpopo education department has put the merger of schools with an enrolment of 50 pupils and below on ice.

This follows an outcry from teachers' unions who accused the department of excluding them when taking decisions that had dire implications for its members.

The department has conceded and allowed proper consultation with all stakeholders, including unions, to be conducted.

Last year former education MEC Aaron Motsoaledi published the names of 224 schools in the province that were supposed to be merged, bringing the number to 77.

Provincial education spokesperson Ndo Mangala said the process had been temporarily placed on hold while discussions with the unions were continuing.

"We will resume with the process as soon as we have reached an agreement with the unions on certain issues of concern," he said.

But Mangala said some parents had already moved their children from the affected schools to those that would benefit through the programme.

He said the schools that were mostly affected by the process are those which were previously known as farm schools.

He said the department will provide transport for pupils who live far from the schools where they would moved.

South African Teachers Union provincial secretary George Mudumela said they were not against the merger of the schools, but said that the department had failed to have proper consultations with them before a decision could be taken on the matter.

In October last year many parents whose children attended farm schools t expressed concern about the process, saying it was not done with the consideration of their children.