Grade R teacher expels 26 pupils

A RURAL school in Limpopo is embroiled in controversy after 26 pupils were expelled by a teacher who said they were not eligible to be enrolled.

The pupils were expelled from Mulamula Primary School in Dumela village near Malamulele, Limpopo, allegedly by a teacher who decided that they did not qualify for admission to Grade R.

The teacher allegedly failed to inform the school principal of her decision.

Following her "unpopular decision" and failure by the principal to act, some parents who are also members of the school's governing body tendered their resignations. They accused the teacher of violating the school's policy.

At the centre of the row are allegations that the teacher refused pupils admission to Grade R at the school though they would turn five years by June 30 this year.

According to current education policy, children who turn five by July and had also attended pre-school, do qualify for admission to Grade R.

In terms of the National Education Policy and the South African Schools Act, determination of admission policy to public schools falls under the competence of the school's governing body.

Sowetan is in possession of copies of birth certificates of some of the expelled pupils, who meet the requirements for admission.

The parents have accused the school's authorities of violating policy and undermining the rights of their children.

Deputy chairperson of the governing body Raymond Maluleke said yesterday that they had tendered their resignations from their core duties of governance at the school.

"Our decision is based on the fact that the principal told us that a teacher at the school had expelled the pupils without his and our knowledge," he said.

Maluleke said they had taken the matter up with the circuit manager of Malamulele West who had allegedly failed to act.

"We consider the expulsion of the pupils to be ultra vires as this function should be executed by the head of the education department. We had recommended that the teacher be deployed to another school or to teach another grade," he said.

Department spokesperson Ndo Mangala yesterday said it was unlawful to deny learning opportunities to pupils "as long as they met the requirements".

He said they would investigate.

"It's unfortunate the parents chose to resign and we'll see what we can do as a department to have another SGB at the school."