School left in the lurch
Governing body bemoans lack of support shown to Goodwill Primary School by provincial education department
THE school governing body (SGB) at Goodwill Primary School in Mahikeng has heavily criticised the North West education and sport development department for a “lack of support” for the school.
Initially designed as a preparatory school, Goodwill Primary assumed it’s new status three years ago.
In 2015, the school started enrolling children beyond Grade 4 and its first cohort of Grade 7 pupils is this year.
Since the transition, the SGB said no support had come from the department.
SGB chairperson Smuts Matshe said: “Had it not been for the competent management at this school, we might as well have closed shop.
“We are not sure whether the department officials are deliberately sabotaging us or not, but their conduct is certainly questionable.”
Matshe said the department was informed of the transition to a fullfledged primary school owing to the overwhelming demand for a new school, but has apparently not supported the school in the way expected.
“The department has not come to the party three years down the line. The first issue was space because buildings here are severely limited. The department had promised to chip in with mobile classrooms but that promise was never fulfilled. We then decided as parents that we needed to procure mobile classrooms and we have been doing that.
“What annoys us is that the department then indicated that if we spend our own money, it would reimburse us, but to date nothing has come,” Matshe said.
He also said furniture remained a problem at the school because the department also failed to honour its promise on that front too.
“The school had furniture for children up to Grade 4 and these are predominantly small in size.
“With the expansion to Grade 7, we needed a new set of furniture. The department promised to deliver but we are still waiting,” he said.
Matshe further said the school had tried to meet with department officials, including MEC Sello Lehari, but has yet to be granted such an opportunity.
“We have written many letters requesting an audience with officials, including the MEC, but we wonder why they are not updating us.
The school is struggling in the new year to provide enough furniture for all the children yet the department gives a different picture out there,” he said.
School management also questioned why new recruits at the provincial government with primary schoolgoing children were referred to Goodwill Primary School.
“We have a number of cases where officials employed by the public service here in Mahikeng are told they can be at ease if they have children in primary school and would refer them here.
“How is the school seen to be good when the department entrusted to support it does not do so,” Matshe said.
The school management said getting stationery for the 2018 academic year was also a hassle.
“We only managed to get part of the stationery on the day before opening after making frantic efforts to contact the top management at the department,” the school said.
Principal Lucia Seremo said the school had an enrolment of about 850 pupils and apart from the challenges of furniture, space and other support efforts, the school was doing well.
“The school is overwhelmed by the number of people who want to place their children here to the extent that we have four classes from Grade R to 4,” she said.
The school recently purchased a school bus for use during sports travel and field trips.
“We bought the bus from our coffers because it would come in handy when we have extracurriculum activities,” the principal said.
Education and sport development department spokesperson Elias Malindi said they had noted the concerns and issues raised by management at Goodwill Primary School.
“So far, the department has started looking into the allegations made with a view to establishing what exactly is going on.
“A detailed response will then be given,” he said.
NO SUPPORT: From left sitting, deputy principal Krista Jordaan, SGB chairperson Smuts Matshe and principal Lucia Seremo at the Goodwill Primary School in Mahikeng, have criticised the education department.