Learners abandoned due to failed rationalisation

Over 60 learners from Elliot have had their school ripped away from them and have been left stranded because the failing Eastern Cape Education Department cannot adhere to the rule of law and failed rationalisation.

The Grade R to Grade 7 learners and the teachers of Long Hope Primary School have been left abandoned after a decision to close their school with no apparent plans to accommodate them. The children have not been offered alternative schooling and teachers have not been integrated into other schools.

I will be submitting questions to the legislature to request clarity over the rationalisation of the Long Hope Primary School.

I will also be seeking clarity as to why the moratorium that was put in place on rationalisation of schools by the Portfolio Committee on Education in November last year has not been implemented.

The committee clearly called on the Department to put a moratorium in place and to provide a well thought out plan of action, including timeframes, which would address the challenges being faced.

Clearly this has not happened, and the first casualties of 2019 are the learners of Long Hope Primary School, who are now being denied an education.

Section 12A of the Schools Act (Act 84 of 1996 as amended by Act 48 of 1999) clearly sets out the procedures that must be followed when public schools are merged, which is the standard procedure when schools are rationalised.

These include giving the schools in question written notice, publishing notices in the local papers and giving the governing bodies of the schools in question, and any other interested persons, an opportunity to make representations.

It also sets out that governing bodies of the schools that are merged must have a meeting before the merger to constitute a single interim governing body comprising of all the members of the governing bodies concerned.

If the above procedures were adhered to the children and educators from Long Hope Primary School would not be in the situation that they find themselves in, and the parents would have had peace of mind that their children’s schooling was being taken care of.

The DA condemns the disorganized rationalization of schools in the province. A DA provincial government will make sure that every child in the province has an opportunity to learn in a safe, supportive environment.