25-year-olds sharing desks with their teenage peers at school highlights the cry for education for Eastern Cape citizens

A total of 135 learners, ranging in age from 20 to 25 years, are sharing their Grade 10 schools desks with their teenage peers at the Makukhanye Senior Secondary School in Lusikisiki because they have nowhere else to go.

The DA agrees with the concerns of parents for the safety of their children starting high school at the age of 14 at the same facility as adult 25-year-old learners who had been in the same grade for more than four years.  The older learners at the school are often victimised because of their age and this, in turn, leads to retaliation in the form of bullying and dropouts.

The DA believes that every South African has the right to education but provision should be made for adults returning to school to obtain their National Senior Certificate. The state of affairs at Makukhanye Secondary highlights the cry from our citizens for an education.

In a response to a legislature question I asked about this particular school, Education MEC Mandla Makupula stated that the repeater rates at the school would be investigated. This suggests that the department could not give a report off-hand due to not being aware of the happenings in the school. For the reply, click here:

The department does not have a policy that stipulates any age restrictions for admissions to government schools.

We believe that learners of a certain age wanting to pursue their basic education should instead enrol at an Adult Education and Training (AET) Centre. The problem here is that the Eastern Cape has a limited number of AET centres and with the geographical spread of the province, these facilities are inaccessible to many.

I have submitted follow-up questions to the MEC regarding the numbers of adult learners who are attending school instead of AET-centres.  The DA will continue to fight for decent education not only for all our citizens – teenagers and adults alike, in an environment that is conducive to learning.

What we need is Total Change when it comes to adult-based education. The unhealthy situation should not be allowed to continue.

— Edmund van Vuuren MPL, Shadow MEC for Education