Under lock and key: John Mutheiwana Secondary School is locked to prevent learners and educators from entering the schoolyard.
John Mutheiwana Secondary School at Tshimbupfe outside Vuwani has consistently produced a 100% matric pass rate and some of the best learners in the province for years.
Despite its great performance, the infrastructure at the school leaves much to be desired and overcrowding has become a major headache at the school.
At this school, survival of the fittest is prevalent, with learners also competing with feeding pigs in the schoolyard and fighting for space under the trees and in classrooms. Despite all these odds, the school has been excelling academically.
Politicians, traditional leaders and education officials have visited the school during their back-to-school campaigns on several occasions. During these visits, they made promises to build more classrooms and an administration block to ease the overcrowding at the school, but this has not happened.
The last prominent personalities to visit the school in 2018 were the former Vhembe executive mayor and the Vhavenda king.
Tired of empty promises, the parents of the 645 learners at the school are now saying enough is enough. On Monday, learning and teaching came to a standstill as nobody could enter the school premises because the gates had been locked by angry parents.
Community leader Mr Musiiwa Mulaudzi said the school was lacking in many respects. "There is overcrowding here, and we need more classes for our learners, who are studying under trees but producing good results. The ablution facilities are not adequate, and learners must use the nearby bushes to relieve themselves. We have decided to close the gates, because we have had many promises from the government that were not implemented.”
He added that they were not taking these measures to disrupt the future of the children but to demand delivery of what they had been promised for many years. “In order to appreciate the good that teachers and learners are doing, we are saying to our government to make education fashionable by building more classes and an admin block," he said.
He further said they would assemble at the school gate until they were given a hearing.
Limpopo Education spokesperson Sam Makondo said the department was disturbed by and condemned the disruption of classes. "We know of the challenges they are facing, and we are addressing them each financial year. If you can check, you will find out that we have, since 2014, not surrendered any infrastructure development," he said.
Date:01 February 2019 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.