Pretoria – In a bid to address the problem of late comers, Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy has launched “Operation Wakeup” to ensure that learners wake up and arrive at school on time.
Addressing more than 700 parents at the Diepsloot Combined School on Saturday, Creecy said it was the responsibility of families to wake learners up and make sure they were ready for school on time.
“We can’t solve this problem alone as the learners don’t sleep in our houses and they don’t wake up with us in the morning.
“One of these days, together with the Department of Health and Social Development, we will round up these truants, we will give you a week or two to see if the situation normalises. If not, we will get tough,” Creecy told parents.
The meeting followed a complaint that learners from Itirele-Zenzele Secondary School regularly arrived at school after 9am.
Creecy said truancy was outlawed by the South African Schools Act and learners should be at bus pick-up points before 06:45am.
She noted that coming late to school meant learners missed out on lessons that would benefit them, and it disrupted discipline in class, adding that it was also going against President Jacob Zuma’s non-negotiables that teachers and learners should be in class, on time and learning for seven hours of each day.
“By not arriving at school on time, learners also expose themselves to danger, including stopping at taverns on their way to school and becoming a disciplinary challenge for educators,” said the MEC.
Parents raised a range of disciplinary issues, including gangsterism on scholar buses, some learners carrying weapons to school and at home, as well as the need to build more schools in Diepsloot so that learners should not rely on scholar transport.
Responding to parents’ concerns, Creecy said a task team would be established to work with the Diepsloot community to address the issues raised.
“The task team will organise a workshop with Representative Councils of Learners, Congress of South African Students and other learner formations to indicate what they were doing as learner leaders to address this problem of late coming,” Creecy said.
Creecy said she will also request the Department of Community Safety to conduct 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 warning those learners that we are coming, we will get rid of 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 learners to school and ensure 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. – BuaNews