In an attempt to deal with the issue of late comers, Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy has recently launched “Operation Wakeup” to make sure that learners get out of bed and arrive at school punctually.
Meeting with in excess of 700 parents at the Diepsloot Combined School, Creecy explained it was in fact the duty of families to wake learners up and ensure they were ready for school in timely manner.
“We simply cannot remedy this issue alone given that the learners don’t sleep in our houses and they also don’t wake up with us every day.
“One of these days, along with the Department of Health and Social Development, we are going to round up these truants, we will give you a week or two to ascertain if the problem normalises. If not, we intend to get tough,” Creecy told parents.
The gathering followed a complaint that pupils from Itirele-Zenzele Secondary School frequently arrived at school after 9am.
Creecy stated that truancy was outlawed by the South African Schools Act and learners need to be at bus pick-up points before 06:45am.
She noted that arriving late to school meant learners missed out on lessons that would benefit them, additionally it disrupted discipline in class, adding that it was also going against President Jacob Zuma’s non-negotiables that teachers and learners need to be in class, on time and learning for seven hours of each day.
“By not coming to school on time, pupils also expose themselves to danger, including stopping at taverns en route to school and becoming a disciplinary problem for educators,” said the MEC.
Parents brought up a variety of disciplinary issues, including gangsterism on scholar buses, a number of pupils carrying weapons to school and at home, in addition to the need to build additional schools in Diepsloot with the intention that learners should not rely on scholar transport.
Answering parents’ concerns, Creecy said a task team would be set up to work with the Diepsloot community to deal with the issues raised.
“The task team are going to organise a workshop with Representative Councils of Learners, Congress of South African Students along with other learner formations to indicate what they were doing as student leaders to deal with this issue of late coming,” Creecy said.
Creecy said she will at the same time request the Department of Community Safety to carry out search and seizure operations in schools and at scholar bus pick-up points.
“No drugs, knives or alcohol should be in our schools. We are forewarning those learners that we are coming, we are going to eliminate these things in our schools.”
Chairperson of the School Governing Body of Itirele-Zenzele, Lucas Loati, said a social project had recruited 50 security officials to secure scholar transport pick-up points, drive with pupils to school and make certain that learners were not loitering in the schoolyard during school hours.
Fifteen of the 50 security officials would be used at Itirele-Zenzele, while the rest would go to other schools in Diepsloot.