Pupils burn school because ‘teachers prefer Generations over teaching’

2012-08-22 10:54
Sabelo Skiti
Angry learners at Noncedo Public School in Thornpark, East London, have burnt the school to the ground because they were upset that their teachers preferred to watch soapies on television instead of teaching them.

The principal’s office, the staff room, and several classrooms were already gutted when firefighters arrived, the Daily Dispatch reported. Pupils said they had not been taught for months.

Eighteen-year-old Bukiwe Wiwana told the paper that learners felt they were left with no choice and that teachers arrived at school to watch Generations, an SABC 1 soapie.

“And when they are in the classrooms they insult us and call us names in front of our peers ... There are many learners who repeat grades more than twice because of these teachers,” she was quoted as saying.

Principal Matthews Brukwe said that teachers had their own grievances, such as the construction of toilets and other facilities, which led to their apathy.

These were not under his control and were being dealt with by the provincial department of education, but nothing had been done.

DA shadow MEC for education Dacre Haddon condemned the incident, saying it was inexcusable.

“Having spoken to the MEC for Education, Mandla Makupula, it appears to be unresolved grievances by pupils that may have given rise to this situation,” said Haddon, adding that his party would be calling for an investigation into the matter.

The DA was set to visit the school this morning.

Provincial department spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani condemned the action, saying the department would let law enforcement deal with “criminal elements”.

Pulumani added that it was worrying that this had happened so close to matric trial exams.

Haddon pointed fingers at the embattled department, saying: “This situation again highlights how pupils are being held hostage by an inept provincial education system.

The missing of school and lack of school facilities caused by this fire damage deprives pupils of a sound education and career advancement in the future.”