More than 2600 Grade 12 pupils in the trouble-torn town of Vuwani in Limpopo might have to repeatmatric if they do not return to class soon, the Department of Basic Education has warned.
Schools in the area have been closed for about two months following violent protests by the community over a demarcation dispute.
More than 20 schools were burnt down during the protests.
As a result, the matric pupils were unable to write their mid-year exams and could also miss out on the preliminary exams scheduled for September.
The department said: “If schooling does not resume soon, the vital time lost may result in all of these learners having to repeat the year.
“For the learners who have been at school for at least 12 years and should be preparing to enter tertiary institutions or preparing themselves for the world of work this is an unfortunate situation.”
Spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said the situation was out of the department’s hands.
“Our hands are tied and we don’t know what to do, to be honest, because our teachers are being intimidated.
“[When] we tried to open schools [parents] increased the intimidation levels,” Mhlanga said.
This would not be the first time pupils have had to repeat a grade because of violent protests.
Two years ago thousands of grades R to 11 pupils from the John Taolo Gaetsewe district in Kuruman had to repeat the year after schools were shut down for more than three months when community members launched protest action, demanding a tarred road.
In 2012 matrics from the same district had to be whisked away to a secret camp to write their exams after schools were shut for four months, also because of a protest calling for the road to be tarred.
One Vuwani principal has called for secret camps in the area to assist Grade 12 pupils but Mhlanga said the problem was bigger than that. Parents should allow pupils to go back to class, he said.[Source: Times Live]