Over 200 learners at Khayelitsha’s Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School, who faced the threat of being demoted to their 2008 grade due to a scandal over inflated marks, will be allowed to continue at their present grades.
This comes after Grade 11 and 12 learners at the school burnt down the school’s toilets on Monday last week in protest at the possibility of having to go back to lower grades.
The toilet burning, and the refusal of the learners to return to class on that day, sparked a meeting at the school’s hall on Monday last week between the education department, parents and teachers.
At a follow-up meeting on Sunday (22/03/09) attended by the School Governing Body (SGB), parents and learners, about 1,000 people erupted in joy when Melvyn Caroline, director of the Western Cape Education Department East Metropole District, announced that the learners would not be demoted.
Out of 1,478 learners at the school, 211 Grade 11 and 12 learners faced demotion.
The decision to allow the learners to continue in their current grades comes after the suspension, also last Monday, of principal Lulama Mabuyisa pending an education department investigation into allegations that learner results were inflated at the end of the 2008 school year.
Caroline said the department would not demote the learners to lower grades, but would continue with investigations. A new principal had already been appointed, he said.
Caroline said: “We don’t want to send children to the lower grades but it must be understood that we must also not send children to grades they do not deserve.”
Caroline said the suspension of Mabuyisa last Monday did not mean she had inflated results, just that “the principal is accountable and is the first person that the department deals with when there is a problem at the school”.
Asked by a parent if the problem was confined to Mathew Goniwe Memorial High School, Caroline said the department was investigating.
New principal Stanley Tyandela said after the meeting that he would do his best to ensure that the learners passed at the end of the year.
“We are planning to hold afternoon, Saturday and holiday classes to accommodate the learners,” Tyandela said.
Parent Nomtha Mgwebile welcomed the decision not to demote the learners to lower grades and said the challenge was for teachers and learners to do their best to prove that the learners deserved to be in their current grades.
But another parent, Abongile Skweyiya, said it was not a good idea to send children to a grade they did not deserve. Skweyiya said the learners would fail because they did not have the learning required to be in the grades they were in. – West Cape News