THE Congress of South African Students has vowed to make private schools ungovernable should they remain open in the coming weeks.
The student body said on Tuesday it was a travesty of justice that while pupils in public schools are languishing at home, the ‘rich kids’ remain unaffected.
“What we are seeing here is inequality at it best. We cannot allow a situation where the majority black and poor learners are the only ones who have to suffer. This is not their own making. Learners must be treated the same regardless of which school they attend public or private,” said Jabulisa Mchunu, COSAS provincial chairperson speaking to Inside Education.
Mchunu said COSAS has lobbied other student formations such as the South African Students Congress to also join in the fight to shut down private schools.
“We are lobbying Sasco because they are our allies and together we form part of the progress youth alliance under the ANC banner. But we invite other student groups as well to assist us in pushing this campaign as we aim to picket in every private school that remains open. Besides, the lives of pupils in private schools also matters, so this attempt is also meant to protect them as well,” explained Mchunu.
Following public pressure and fears that the COVID-19 wave might spiral out of control amid the flu season, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced closure of schools, except for Grade 12.
All other grades are expected to be phased in from August 24.
Grade 5 pupils are also expected back at school next week.
The unprecedented closure only affected public schools while private institutions would make their own determination whether to remain open or closed.
These schools are, however, divided on the matter with some remaining open while others have opted for remote learning instead.
Responding to the threats by COSAS, Mandla Mthembu, chairperson of the National Alliance of Independent Schools Association (NAISA) said parents of pupils in private institutions were paying too much to allow it to go to waste.
“Parents pay a lot of money so that their kids can access quality education. They must get value for their money and we hope that police will acts swiftly and arrest anybody who disturbs teaching and learning,” said Mthembu.
Meanwhile, there were no major incidents reported in KZN as matric pupils returned after a short break.
Nolwazo Chiya, a governing body member at Menzi High School, said it was agreed that pupils would commence classes at 7am as an attempt to catch up on lost time.
Menzi High School is one of the best performing schools in the province boasting a consecutive 100% matric pass rate.
“We do not want our pass rate to dwindle so we’re now resorting to this measure,” she told Inside Education.
According to the new revised academic calendar, schools will close on December 15 for grade R to 11.
Unlike the previous years, matric results will now be released next year on February 23.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)