Chalk down school re-opens its doors

The frustrated parents who had gathered outside Assegai Primary School.

Following a week-long shut down, protesting parents and the SGB of Assegai Primary School in Wentworth have agreed to allow teaching and learning to resume at the school.

This comes after irate parents engaged with the Department of Education and submitted a notice of intent to appeal against the decision taken to appoint Thenjiwe Ndlovu as the new principal. According to chairman of the SGB, Andre de Bruin, the appeal was acknowledged by the department.  

“This is not a matter of throwing in the towel, but we have adopted a new strategy so that our pupils do not lose out on learning,” said de Bruin.

Parents were engaged in another lock down following the Department of Education’s decision to appoint Ndlovu as the new principal after an investigation into the matter.

Last Thursday, some disgruntled parents had blockaded Austerville Drive with burning trees and stones.  De Bruin said that this was not the mandate of the SBG and distanced themselves from these actions.   

De Bruin said that they want the department to show them the investigation and how they arrived at the decision. “According to the SA Schools Act, the SGB can give a preference list of candidates with a motivation. The department then interviews applicants and thereafter a ratification process takes place, however, this was not done,” he said.

The parents preferred candidate is Odette Abrahams who was the acting principal for two years, deputy principal for 24 years and head of department for 10 years.

ALSO READ: Parents protest against appointment of Assegai Primary’s new principal

“Mrs Abrahams has been doing a marvelous job. She has a Level M7 qualification which is equal to an honours. We believe she has the experience to run the school as compared to the new incumbent who has as Post Level 1 qualification,” said de Bruin. Parent, Samson Kale, 78, said that the department is exploiting Mrs Abrahams qualifications and experience in the field.

Speaking about their actions being termed as ‘racist’, de Bruin pointed out that the school’s population has more than 50 percent Black pupils. “This is not about the colour of the skin, it’s about the quality of education,” he said.  

Muzi Mahlambi, spokesman of the Department of the Education, said that they will be taking legal action against parents and community members if they continue to protest. “We will not be tolerating this behavior any much longer and furthermore legal action will be made against those parents who are blocking the entrance into the premises,” he said.

Rising Sun Merebank

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