6 February 2019

South Africa: PE Parents Protest for More Teachers for Overcrowded School

Almost 50 children to a teacher at Alfonso Aries Primary School, says protest leader

Alfonso Aries Primary School in Booysen Park, Port Elizabeth, is bursting at the seams. Simpiwe Waka says there are over 1,700 children. "Our classes are overcrowded ... There are supposed to be 41 teachers but we have 36," he says. This works out to about 50 children per teacher, and that is assuming each teacher is teaching every lesson of the day.

Waka led a protest of about 30 people outside the education department's offices on Wednesday. They want more teachers for the school.

There are four primary schools in the area, but Alfonso Aries is the only one that teaches in Xhosa. The other three teach in Afrikaans.

Jonas Luyanda, the chair of the School Governing Body, said that many letters had been sent to the department but no-one ever responded.

Luyanda pointed out other problems: Some learners come from afar to the school but do not have scholar transport. Some children only speak Afrikaans but the school has struggled to get people to teach it. And, he says, some children don't have birth certificates so the school does not get state subsidy for them.

Viwe Madonci, a department official, invited the protest leaders for a meeting inside his office. After the meeting, Waka told GroundUp that they would meet again next week.

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