'Tree school' must get classrooms‚ desks and teaching support in 3 weeks

Jacob Rapudi, a teacher at Makangwane Secondary School, conducts lessons under a tree. The school's structure is dilapidated and parents fear for the safety of their children.
Jacob Rapudi, a teacher at Makangwane Secondary School, conducts lessons under a tree. The school's structure is dilapidated and parents fear for the safety of their children.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

The Department of Basic Education has been instructed to deliver mobile classrooms to a remote Limpopo school where pupils are receiving erratic teaching in dilapidated structures.

Judge GC Muller made this ruling in an urgent application brought by public interest law centre Section27‚ which asked the court to ensure that the learners of Makangwane Secondary School at Nonparella in the Capricorn district are taught in safe and adequate school facilities‚ by the time the third school term begins on July 17.

Earlier this year‚ Section27 highlighted how pupils at the no-fee school were being taught under trees since January. School authorities had moved classes outdoors because they were concerned the damaged building posed a threat to the safety‚ with support beams having previously fallen down in class.

Consequently‚ lessons have suffered.

"To date‚ lessons at the school were irregular or did not occur at all because department officials refused to allow teaching to take place outdoors‚" Section27 said in a statement after the court ruling on Tuesday.

The court ordered the department to put in place short-term measures to allow proper and effective teaching and learning to resume by the start of the third school term.

According to Section27‚ these measures must include the delivery of at least five mobile classrooms; adequate school furniture to allow all learners to have their own space to read and write and a catch-up plan to compensate for the gaps in the curriculum as a result of the disruptions to teaching and learning in the first half of 2018.

A further interdict directed the department to develop and begin implementing a detailed and costed implementation plan setting out a permanent solution to the problem of inadequate and dangerous infrastructure at Makangwane School.

The judge also issued an order directing the department to report to the court at regular intervals‚ on the steps taken to comply with these orders.

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