No furniture on School Day 1
Furniture was the main challenge raised by primary school principals in Grahamstown townships on the first day for public schools, Wednesday 11 January.
Grocott’s Mail asked principals about their schools’ readiness for the year. Most said they had received stationery and were busy distributing it to the children on Wednesday.
At NV Cewu, Makana Primary, CM Vellem, Samuel Ntlebi, Samuel Ntsiko and Tantyi Lower Public Primary, pupils had a pack of stationery in front of them. At most schools, teachers were already busy teaching.
At NV Cewu, as early as 8am, parents and their children had already filled the school yard. The Grade Rs were divided among those in tears and those celebrating their first day at school.
School principal Anele Ndyolashe surprised pupils on the first day by dressing like them, in uniform. He said they were only waiting for the department of education to top up textbooks.
They had enough teachers. The only challenge was parents who were coming to register their children on the first day of school.
Ndyolashe said that was one thing delaying teaching on the first day.
They were trying to help parents by accommodating their children, he said, but there was only limited space available. In Makana Public Primary School, principal Mkholisi Williams said they had received stationery before schools closed last year.
“Furniture is our main concern because its very old and I think in the past 10 years we have only received furniture once.
“Teaching staff is another concern because there is a class that is going to be without a class teacher this year.
“I’m also a class teacher while I also have to perform my duties as a principal,” Williams said. At CM Vellem, some children were standing; others were sitting on tables when Grocott’s Mail arrived.
The school’s head of department Synod Sam said it was a frustrating situation.
“I’m happy that you are here so that this can be publicised,” Sam said.
“We have no furniture here and as you can see kids are sitting on top of tables.
This is not only frustrating us as teachers, but also the kids themselves.”
They had enough teachers, however, and had received stationery on time”, Sam said.
“We have given the pupils the stationery and teaching has started, as we don’t want to waste time.
“We also don’t have any problems with scholar transport, as forms were signed last year on behalf of pupils who need it.”
Samuel Ntlebi principal Dumakazi Myemane said things were going smoothly on their first day.
“We have stationery and the department promised to give us the Intermediate Senior Phase teacher that we currently need,” Myemane said.
“We are ready for this year and we are more than motivated by the fact that we have a new fence for our yard for security reasons.”
At Samuel Ntsiko Primary, children were also in classes with teachers teaching.
Principal Nombulelo Koliti said she couldn't really complain since they had received stationery on time and had enough teachers.
However, Samuel Ntsiko, was also short of furniture she said.
Tantyi Lower Public Primary’s head of department Luleka Vabaza said there were no challenges on their first day, as they had received stationery last year. She said the only thing they had not received was learner support material.