South Africa: Upgrade Parkwood School, Demand Parents

6 February 2019

"We're trying to upgrade our children because this is what we never had"

About 60 people picketed against the deteriorating condition of Parkwood Primary School on Wednesday morning.

Standing outside the school, Paul Phillips, a Parkwood community leader, said, "The school is falling apart. There is no progress. Our learners deserve better. They [the education department] must come up with a realistic plan to replace what we have here," he said.

The classrooms leak in winter and the school is often vandalised, Phillips said.

Parkwood Primary was built about five decades ago and has prefabricated walls. The Western Cape Department of Education has given the school a provisional upgrade date of 2027, but residents want this date to be negotiated.

Sharon Agulhas attended Parkwood primary nearly 60 years ago. She says not much has changed since then. Her two sons attended the school. Now two of her grandchildren do. "The whole school must be revamped", she said . "There are holes in the classes. The roofs are leaking." She said the classrooms are cramped as well.

Benjamin Martin, whose two children go to the school, complained that the classrooms are cold and the wind comes through the walls. "We're trying to upgrade our children because this is what we never had," he said.

A department official, Thandi Jafta, received a memo from the protesters, who have said they want an answer within seven days. Jafta only said she would take it to the department.

The department had not responded to telephone calls from GroundUp by the time of publication.

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