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'We can’t go on like this': Teacher tells of dealing with 80 learners in class

Four schools in Kraaifontein shut their doors this week, as learners and parents took to the streets to protest overcrowded classrooms.

Bloekombos Secondary School in Kraaifontein protested on 16 May 2019 and complained about overcrowding in classrooms. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - With an ever-rising demand for schooling which has put pressure on limited resources, teachers are having to cope under chaotic circumstances.

Four schools in Kraaifontein shut their doors this week, as learners and parents took to the streets to protest overcrowded classroom s.

On Thursday, the crowd gathered outside Bloekombos Secondary School, blocking off a highly policed Old Paarl Road.

A Bloekombos Secondary School teacher said it was frustrating to deal with classes of up to 80 learners at a time.

He said as soon as the school bell rang, children stormed towards their classrooms to fight for a seat, while others were forced to sit on the floor.

“I love teaching and I love kids, but we can’t go on like this. It’s a madhouse. Most teachers are so frustrated.”

A grade 10 pupil told EWN that he struggled to concentrate in a cramped classroom.

“We don’t learn properly, as the kids are making a lot of noise. We can’t hear the teachers in class. There are too many learners.”

Teachers said Bloekombos Secondary currently had more than 2,000 pupils, much more than its capacity of 1,200 pupils.

On Thursday the Western Cape Education Department responded to the situation at the Bloekombos Secondary School.

Education MEC Spokesperson Jessica Shelver said officials already warned the school last year that it had reached capacity.

“Since the middle of 2018, the district instructed them to not admit more learners, as the school was already filled to capacity and we were opening a new school in the area on January 2019. The new school is not far away, and it is underutilised. The school principal and SGB blatantly ignored this instruction and did the exact opposite.”

Shelver said the department would not build a new school in the area.

“They have admitted more learners for 2019 than they can accommodate and are demanding a new school. The WCED will not be building yet another school in the area when a nearby high school can accommodate the learners. If they continue to shut down the school, we will consider our legal options and disciplinary action.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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