Uproar over schools forcing Covid-19 positive matric pupils to write trial exams at school
Share this article:
Durban - PARENTS, opposition parties and unions are fuming after some schools in Phoenix have apparently allowed matric pupils to write examinations on school premises despite testing Covid-19 positive.
Pupils are currently writing matric trial examinations. The concerned parties have called for action to be taken against the respective schools’ management and urged the Department of Education to ensure this was stopped immediately.
Provincial education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa confirmed to IOL that an investigation was under way following claims that pupils diagnosed with Covid were allowed to write alongside other pupils at Solvista Secondary School in Phoenix without safety protocols in place.
He said schools have been provided with the necessary health protocols and should, by now, know what to do.
Attempts to reach the school’s principal and its school governing body were unsuccessful.
Phoenix Muslim School principal Saeed Mohamed confirmed to the Daily News that he had sent messages to parents to allow Covid positive matric pupils to write at school because it had enough isolation rooms.
“Yes we told parents to release their children to come for the exam even if they have tested positive with Covid-19 because we have rooms where pupils would sit alone and write, but we never forced anyone. We have assigned dedicated invigilators to monitor them,” said Mohamed.
Dr Imran Keeka, the DA’s member of the education portfolio committee, wrote to the Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu this week demanding answers on what action would be taken against these schools. Keeka told the Daily News yesterday he was surprised that despite reports to the department, nothing had been done.
The KZN Parents’ Association was also fuming at the schools’ decision. Chairperson Vee Gani said it was an irresponsible action which deserved severe punishment. He said as parents they wanted the MEC to take action against these principals or Mshengu should take full responsibility.
Gani felt the schools were putting the lives of the staff and other pupils at risk, especially those who would have travelled with the positive child on the taxi or bus on the way to school.
National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) provincial chief executive officer Thirona Moodley said it was the most irrational thing to do and called the act unlawful and reckless. She called for the principals of these schools to be charged.
The National Teachers’ Union (NATU) national secretary Cynthia Barnes said her organisation was not only calling for action against principals but the investigation must broaden and include the circuit managers because her union had received information that these managers allegedly forced principals into allowing this.
Head of education in the province, Dr Barney Mthembu, said that although it was wrong for the schools to allow this, some were apparently forced by parents and pupils themselves who thought of losing the opportunity to write matric.
“Parents and pupils are aware that if you don’t write matric now, one would have to wait until June to get another opportunity, so the temptation by the parents and teachers could be understandable although it was wrong. We will investigate the matter and action will be taken against those found to be in the wrong,” said Mthembu.