By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education:
The Democratic Alliance has written to the Northern Cape department of Education today to seek intervention at Nazareth House Intermediate School in Warrenton.
We want clarity on the status of Nazareth House, because the department and the principal are flatly contradicting one another on whether or not the school will be closed.
The principal of the school send a letter to parents last week instructing them to choose another school to which their learners can be transferred. This letter had to be completed and returned to the school by the next day. The impression is definitely created that learners are being transferred ahead of a decision to close the school.
In the letter, the principal states that there was “proper consultation with the school, Mr. A.D. Moapese, the circuit manager, and with various reports to the Northern Cape Department of Education regarding the status quo of Nazareth House Intermediate School”.
This letter directly contradicts the repeated assurances from the department that there is no intention of closing the school. We received a list of schools targeted for closure or merging in 2015/16 and 2016/17 from the department in May and Nazareth House does not appear on this list.
If the letter was not authorized by the department, steps has to be taken against the principal.
Closing a school is not a decision for any one person to make. It is a decision which must be taken by the community and which must have the best interest of the learners at heart.
We also want the department to explain why the drastic decrease in learner numbers apparently went unnoticed. It might have been the choice of a few parents to enroll their learners in a different school this year. But a decline from 300 learners in 2014 to 11 in 2015 cannot be attributed to the choice of the parents alone.
Given the letter sent by the principal, it is easy to believe that there were indeed attempts to limit learner enrollment at the school in 2014.
The Democratic Alliance believes that a good education is the gateway to opportunity. The parents want to enroll their learners at Nazareth House because of the quality of education being offered.
Denying learners the right to quality education is absolutely unacceptable.