'Overcrowding bad for learning'

A teacher at an overcrowded high school in Diep River said the conditions were taking a major toll on staff.

A disused primary school. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A teacher at an overcrowded Diep River high school on Monday said the conditions were taking a major toll on staff.

South Peninsula High School made headlines when its principal and pupils broke into a vacant primary school to use some of the classrooms.

The institution said it has waited for a reply from the Public Works Department for seven years.

However, the department went back to lock the gates.

Deputy Principal Zaid Baker said he fears the situation may scare off dedicated staff members.

"One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to know that the smaller the class size, the better the teacher/pupil contact. A lot of these historically disadvantaged schools have been affected by the mass exodus of teachers from our classrooms."

Meanwhile, the Western Cape government has promised to build more schools.

In March, Premier Helen Zille blamed Eastern Cape pupils for school overcrowding.

She came under fire after she called Eastern Cape pupils "refugees."

Zille later apologised saying "it was never meant in that context at all."

The Eastern Cape achieved the lowest matric pass rate in 2011.

According to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, South Africa desperately needs 3,000 new schools.