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Seventy unplaced pupils learn in tuck shop

A group of 70 unplaced Gauteng pupils have been put in an unused tuck shop to play catch-up at a high school south of Johannesburg.

The group of 40 grade 10, and 30 grade 9 pupils share the tuck shop hall floor partitioned with a medium-size white board at Hill High School near Turffontein.

The pupils from various areas surrounding Turffontein had mostly applied for placements at Sir John Adamson High School and Hoerskool President but both schools are full.

Last week, according to parents, the pupils were told to start attending classes at the Hill High School tuck shop while waiting to be placed. They are being taught only physical science and business studies by two temporary teachers employed by the Gauteng department of education.

When Sowetan visited the school, a group of pupils in different school uniforms were playing outside. Some pupils were sitting on top of their desks, others were busy with their hair in the bathroom. They share two bathrooms with blocked pipes and water flowing outside.

As the two teachers were having their lunch, one pupil accidentally broke the glass window.

A parent, Tsakane Sithole, 36, said she was concerned about her child's future.

Her daughter attended Topaz Secondary School in Lenasia last year because she could not find a space for her near where she lives.

"I have been going up and down trying to find a place for my child who is in grade 10. This is after the department could not place her. She stayed at home for the whole of January doing nothing. Nothing has changed as they have been taught only two subjects," she said.

Another parent, Maureen Tshabalala, said her daughter was enrolled at a private school the year before but after its poor pass rate she had to move her.

"There is no proper education that can take place in that hall.

That environment is not conducive for learning and the two teachers there cannot manage the whole group on their own. Gauteng department of education has failed us," she said.

But a 16-year-old grade 10 pupil said the situation at the tuck shop was better than staying at home and doing nothing.

Another grade 10 pupil said it was a struggle to focus in class because the grade 9 pupils were very noisy.

"At times we have our lessons outside because the noise becomes too much. We have two teachers who are multi-tasking and we are worried that we are losing [out] on the other subjects. We are taught business studies and physics the whole day, what about the other subjects?" he asked.

The department's spokesperson Steve Mabona said all grade 1 to 8 pupils in the province have been placed at schools.

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