News / South Africa / Education
The Limpopo department of education has defended its decision to close four schools in the Vhembe East district, saying this was justified in order to ensure children received the education they deserved.
Provincial department spokeswoman Tidimalo Chuene said the decision to close down Matshikiri, Fandani, Tshibalo and Tshianzwane primary schools was based on the need to merge them because of low enrolment numbers.
In a report on the merger prepared by the department, Matshikiri, based at Musunda village in Hamakuya, which had 74 pupils, was merged with Tshikondeni primary.
Only four teachers served pupils from Grade R to Grade 7, resulting in multigrading, which compromised the standard of teaching and learning.
The same situation applied in the other schools. Fandani Primary, with 104 pupils and situated at Fandani Village, was merged with Lamvi Primary School in January 2017 and Tshibalo in Matovha in Vhurivurhi, with 121 pupils, merged in 2019 with Vhurivuri Primary.
Tshianzwane Primary at Maludzhawela village in Hamakuya merged in 2015 with Tshikondeni Primary School. A total of 44 pupils at Tshianzwane were affected by the move.
The department said it provided transport to the new schools for all the affected kids.
The department was reacting to an outcry from the affected rural communities from a number of villages in Thulamela local municipality in Vhembe district who threatened violence after the closure of the schools.
Community leaders asked Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to intervene and reopen the schools, claiming they were closed down although they were built by the communities and not the government.
The villagers accused the department of closing the schools without proper consultation.
“Villagers say they were not given enough time to voice their opinions on the matter.
“The communities feel betrayed by government because it promised free education.
“This government did not help us in building our schools, which were built by our ancestors, but then they feel it is within their rights to close them down,” said community leader Phumudzo Mukhwathi.
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