Repeating grades is not the answer to disruption
THE DEPARTMENT of Basic Education in the Northern Cape announced in September that Kuruman pupils will repeat their grades next year, except for matriculants.
The reason: Teaching and learning didn’t take place for three months.
Spokesman for the department, Sydney Stander, said: “Despite numerous appeals to parents and communities, schooling came to a standstill for the past three months. We are at a stage where it is not realistically possible to do anything with Grades R to 11, except to allow them to return to repeat the full year in 2015.”
For those who are unfamiliar with the politics there, this is what happened. Protesting residents prevented children from going to school. They wanted the government to build a tarred road. Residents protested for the same last year.
I expected the nation to make noise about or oppose the department’s decision to make Kuruman pupils stay back. I was wrong. Clearly we don’t subscribe to the notion “an injury to one is an injury to all”.
According to media reports, pupils didn’t turn up for their exams. They felt it was futile. They would be repeating their grades anyway. So that means schools are closed already for pupils and teachers are twiddling their thumbs.
It seems the department didn’t even bother implementing the recovery programme.
Pupils could have used the September school holidays and weekends to cover the work they couldn’t cover due to the disruptive protest. But, clearly, the department had other ideas.
I can bet my Zimbabwean dollar that the department of education won’t make pupils repeat their grades in Gauteng. When the community protest in Bekkersdal turned violent and disrupted schooling, the department took matriculants to a secret camp. And they were able to write their final exams, including other grades, and passed well. Why didn’t the same happen in Kuruman?
It is unfair for innocent kids to suffer for the sins of their parents who have their priorities mixed up. The government should employ fair practice for all pupils. If it allows matrics in Kuruman to write exams, it should do the same for other grades.
Kagiso, Mogale City