On Wednesday morning matrics from the Ndaliso Senior Secondary School in Lusikisiki allegedly torched the school’s administration block to express their anger at being forced to write their matric exams over two years.
While I can sympathise with the frustrations of the learners, the destruction of institutions of learning can never be the answer.
These learners were upset by the policy that requires progressed learners to write their exams over a two-year period, writing half in December and the other half in June next year.
It is shocking to note that of the 358 pupils registered to write exams at Ndaliso‚ 232 were progressed learners. (Progressed learners are learners who have failed a grade but are then still advanced to the next grade.)
According to current policies, a school can make a determination on how many exams a progressed learner is entitled to write, based on various factors, including the performance of the learner during their trial exams.
The purpose behind the two-year policy is to give these learners the additional opportunity to study for their exams, focusing their efforts on passing the first half of their courses in December, and then having a further six months to focus on the other half, before writing in June.
That said, the decision should ultimately be up to the learner, and once a consultative process has taken place explaining the rationale behind the extended exam period, should they wish to write all their exams at once, this should be allowed.
We cannot condone violence and destruction of property. The destruction of school property steals the opportunity of education from all learners, not just those who are aggrieved, and brings into question the true motives of those who are protesting.
The Democratic Alliance believes that education is the keystone on which a better South Africa for all can be built, and it is therefore vital that this issue is resolved.