Peaceful protest continued at Bishop Lavis Primary school for a second day on Tuesday, after parents demand for more teachers were not met.
To kick start the academic year the Bishop Lavis Action Community (BLAC) held a demonstration calling on moral values to be prioritized and maintained to help overcome persistent social ills.
In the first week of February, members of the same organisation barricaded the gates of Nooitgedacht Primary School, to reiterate the call for more teachers, saying that it leads to lower grades and higher drop-out rates.
According to BLAC member Beverly Fortuin the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has not met the demands of the School Governing Body and parents. Fortuin said Bishop Lavis Primary currently has a total of 691 learners taught by 17 teachers, which translates into and average of 40 students per class. But, Fontein said that one grade 4 class has 60 learners.
According to Fontein their repeated concern over the “disproportional learner to teacher ratio” has been met with little action.
“What they’ve explained is that its not in their hands anymore. Theyre waiting on approval from metro to allocate teachers that the school requested. There isn’t a basket like previous years where they allocated teachers to schools.”
“I don’t know if there’s a new system currently,” she said.
Fontein also noted that the protests will affect children who are not in class as they lose out on their lessons and fall behind. During Monday’s protest however, the school closed earlier than usual. But the next day, parents returned more frustrated.
“What happened is that some of the parents who joined the protest yesterday for the sake of safety reasons. the others had to stay at school until 1 because the school didn’t want the learners to roam the streets (since) some of their parents might not be home.
According to the WCED’s Bronagh Hammond, the department is aware of the protest action and is engaging with the community.
“There’s currently a submission en route for an additional teaching post. Therefore, we are waiting for the outcome of that application,” said Hammond.