Cape Town - The Tulbagh community is upset over “short notice" that the primary school at Tulbagh High School would be moved to Waveren Primary School in January, stating that incomplete construction would affect learners.
The community had two combined schools, Waveren and Tulbagh, and both had primary and high school learners.
Waveren’s high school learners would now be moved to Tulbagh, and Tulbagh’s primary school learners to Waveren. There will now be a dedicated high school and a dedicated primary school.
Maddenia Davis, co-ordinator for the Concerned Parent Body of Waveren School, said for a few years, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) had spoken about intentions to merge the two schools.
Davis said action was taken two years ago when they started with construction at Tulbagh High School and that construction happened around the normal school activities.
“The message was that after construction was done at Tulbagh High School they would start with construction at Waveren and that the schools would only merge when work at Waveren was completed.
“The school at Waveren is not conducive to the health of learners due to many factors, of which asbestos classrooms are one of the biggest concerns,” Davis said.
Vanessa Le Roux, founder of a group called Parents for Equal Education SA, wrote to Education MEC Debbie Schäfer stating that Tulbagh High was not ready to take primary school learners but said that their concerns were ignored.
She said instead it was pushed forward to create the utmost chaos in those communities. Le Roux gave Schäfer 48 hours to respond, saying if not, she would have no option but to advise the communities to exercise their legal rights and approach the courts.
Parents said they felt that they had been deceived by the WCED and asked that they stick to their original plan to move learners only after renovations.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, however, said she had received a petition and complaint from parents in the area and a full written response was sent to the parents nearly a week ago, “so it is false to claim that they have received no feedback”.
She said that during a consultation in September, parents and the school governing bodies claimed an agreement had been made to delay moving the primary school learners from Tulbagh High School to Waveren Primary School until all construction was completed – they were given four weeks to produce any evidence of such an agreement but they failed to do so.
“With regards to the claims about safety, no evidence has been produced of alleged asbestos on the school site. In the event of there being any asbestos it will be broken/removed, with suitable measures taken to protect anyone in the vicinity,” she said.
She said it must also be made clear that unlike the construction that took place at Tulbagh High School (affecting the whole school), the construction at Waveren was entirely separate from the learners.