By Given Motswiane
The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) members and an organisation calling itself the Alexandra Parliament on Wednesday prohibited learners from grade 8 to 11 at Eastbank High School, in Alexandra, in north Johannesburg, from entering the school. This was part of a protest against poor infrastructure, poor quality of teaching, shortage of toilets and other issues. These two groups on Monday held some teachers, an official from the district office, and one of the acting principals at the school hostage in an attempt to get their grievances heard. They also vandalised the staffroom and threw trash in the corridors.
“No one is taking the students into account. They have been complaining for the past seven to eight years about the same issues. There are toilets that are not working in the school, only four toilets out of all the toilets in the school that are working. There are 1520 learners at the school that use four toilets. Both males and females use the same toilet. How is that going to be safe?” said Alexandra Parliament chairperson, Vincent Ndima, who says his organisation fights for community members who feel like they are not being taken seriously by government institutions.
Ndima says the other issues they want dealt with includes having two acting principals at the school, which leads to divisions among teachers. He also said the quality of teaching and learning at the school is not good enough because there are often no classes or teachers. He said the school does not have security, meaning anyone can walk in and do whatever they want at any time.
As Ndima was addressing the students and telling them to come back to school on Friday, one of the learners shouted back at him, “You are ruining our future. We, the grade 11 students, are writing (tests) next week.”
Speaking anonymously to Fray News, a teacher said that they too are frustrated by the situation at the school, having to share toilets with learners, shortage of office furniture and lack of clear leadership.
Ndima says they will shut down more schools in Alexandra if the department does not get back to them with an appropriate answer. Fray News reached out to the Gauteng Department of Education for comment, but had not received a response by the time of publication.