Learners of Sinthumule High School are still receiving tuition while sitting on the floor, while others are being taught in crowded classrooms. Photo: Kaizer Nengovhela.

Sinthumule High battles after closure of Magoni


The closure of Magoni High School has had far-reaching implications for the local community and has caused neighbouring schools, such as Sinthumule High, to deal with overcrowding. The problem is so severe that parents believe the learners’ performance will be seriously affected.

From what could be established, Sinthumule High currently has an enrolment of more than 3,000 learners. The school's classrooms can only accommodate a maximum of 50 pupils each. In Grade 8, 9, and 10, the classrooms are overflowing with more than 80 pupils. So little space is available that the teachers can barely fit in the gap between the pupils’ knees in the front row and the chalkboard.

“All we need are enough classes and desks to accommodate our children,” said a parent, Ms Mpho Nzhiri. "We have applied many times to the department for classrooms, but our pleas have not yielded any fruits.” Nzhiri said that mobile classrooms could alleviate the situation as the lack of classrooms was a matter requiring urgent attention. “Either that, or else the government must build classrooms for our children."

She also mentioned that overcrowded classes put a lot of pressure on the teachers as more distractions could hinder the pupils' learning. “It is quite shocking and disappointing to still find our children attending classes in overcrowded conditions or sitting on the floor,” Nzhiri said.

Parents have now started to threaten taking mass protest action. They plan on marching to the education department’s offices if the situation is not addressed. “Look at other schools in the province, and you'll see that they have the luxury of air conditioners. We call upon the Department of Education, both provincial and national, to make an urgent intervention," said one of the parents.

A learner who wished to remain anonymous said they were often tired because they had to stand for long periods while attending classes. She said that the learners were studying under difficult conditions, citing the temperature in the classroom as one aspect. They also had to put their books on their laps to be able to write. “We cannot continue attending classes when we are overcrowded, and we can't concentrate when the teacher is giving us a lesson.”

The MEC for Education, Mavhungu Lerule Ramakhanya, responded to questions and said that a backlog currently existed, with a shortage of classrooms at many provincial schools. She added that, following the closure of Magoni High and its merger with Sobani, a significant number of students had opted for Sinthumule High because of parental preferences for quality education or proximity to home. Ramakhanya promised that the problems of overcrowding at Sinthumule High would be dealt with.



Date:27 April 2024

By: Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.

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