Learners take to the streets

By Ramotswedi Rammutla July 8, 2020

Mahikeng: Learners at Kgobokoe High School in Tsetse Village Mahikeng on Wednesday, July 8 started protesting due to what they say is lackey following of COVID 19 school protocol as well as oppression from school management and the SGB on standing issues and grievance.

Learners have said that COVID 19 regulations as set by the department of education are not sufficiently implemented at the school. This resulted in them writing a petition to request that the school follows all protocols. This includes sanitization when learners enter the school premises and regular intervals of disinfection of premises and classrooms. Learners fear infections as schools in Mahikeng continue to report cases. The learners were seen on the street picketing holding signs that said “Our lives Matter” after they were removed from school premises by police.

According to student leadership they had tried to reach out to management, who did not want to listen on Monday. They submitted a petition to raise their issues which subsequently led to a protest on Wednesday. The learners intend to send their grievances to the Department of Education as well as SAPS giving the school until Monday, July 13 to deal with the issues, or they will go on a full-on strike.

 “They do not want to wear the masks, social distance, write exams, they are not prepared to learn. They stay outside and when we try to reprimand them and explain what the regulation expects from them, they say we are oppressing them” said Mariam Magano, a teacher at Kgobokoe High School in Tsetse Village.

“We need to reach out to these learners because I think the pressure is mounting and they don’t know how to deal with the situation. The reality being that we are faced with curriculum challenges the more they waste time, the more we lose valuable academic progress,” added Magano.

“We want classes to be sanitized every hour and want hands free sanitizer dispensers or people who handle the sanitizing of hands. These things are not hygienic one leaner touches the bottle before they sanitize, then another does the same” said a learner who spoke anonymously due to fear of victimization.

“All learners should be tested and screened at the school we don’t know who has the virus here and might be spreading it” added another learner.

“As a school we had intended to get the hands- free dispensers, but could not afford one for each class, as they are expensive at around seven hundred each. We were renovating the school just before lockdown and depleted most of our resources and have no capacity thus we opted for bottles. The classes are disinfected in the morning before use and after school.” added Principal Makgamathe.

“The reality is, this is a difficult time for all of us, because for some reason they think we are also not scared of the virus; we are really doing our best to try help these learners but they don’t listen. We resolved their issues yesterday and they have new ones today. We as teachers tried our best to solve the situation but this problem is bigger than us. Some parents come here and don’t want to put on masks, the issues are in the community” added Johannes Madileng a teacher at the school.

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