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Soweto school forced to hotseat pupils amid classroom shortage



The ACDP in Gauteng is worried that pupils will get into trouble if they take turns going to school.

Pupils at Noordgesig High School in Soweto are not able to attend school five days a week because there is a shortage of classrooms.

Grade 8 and 9 pupils most affected

According to African Christian Democratic Party ACDP’s Gauteng MPL, Dalton Adams, Grade 8 and 9 pupils have been going to school on shifts [nicknamed hotseating in some parts of Africa] because there is a shortage of classrooms in the school.

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According to Adams, the school was expecting mobile classrooms to be delivered from the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) after the old school building could not be used because of its asbestos roofing.

“When these learners are not in school where do they say they must go we are already dealing with other challenges in the community such as drugs and crime we cannot have learners out of school because there is a shortage of classrooms,” Adams said.

Adams said the parents of the pupils were left confused by the entire arrangement of going to school on a shift system.

“Currently, the learners go to school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday one week; and then Tuesday and Thursday the next. This is totally unacceptable, and not just because their academic success is threatened either – there are always safety issues involved when teenagers are left to roam the streets,” he said.

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Adams said he had spoken to the MEC for Education about the matter on several occasions.

“Even at the State of the Province [Address], I saw him and I told him that the arrangement is a disaster waiting to happen. I am not even sure if he was listening,” he said.

Noordgesig school asbestos problem

Adams said the Department declared the school’s asbestos structures unsafe back in 2022.

“They knew how many new or temporary classrooms would be needed in 2024; but they have managed to supply only eight mobile classrooms, which are extremely hot and overcrowded,” Adams said.

He said the pupils deserved quality education in a suitable environment where they can learn.

“The parents and learners of Noordgesig Secondary need proper solutions before the end of February,” Adams said.

In a response to The Citizen Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) spokesperson Steve Mabona said the department was aware of the challenges at Noordgesig High School.

“A contractor was appointed on Monday, 12 February 2024 to remove asbestos building material and it is anticipated that this work will be concluded by the end of March 2024,” Mabona said.

He said currently, Noordgesig High School has collaborated with Lofentse Girls High School to cater for the Consumer Studies lessons.

“A catch plan has been drawn where learners are expected to attend an extra hour a day and three hours on Saturday classes,” he said.

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