Lejweleputswa supports underperforming school

An emergency meeting with parents and teachers of the Bronville community was convened by the Lejweleputswa District Municipality and the department of education last week Sunday to address the low performance rate of the learners at the Welkom Secondary School.

Department of education district director, Sam Mokgobo, said the department has signed an agreement with all the schools in Lejweleputswa to obtain an 80 percent pass rate in this year’s matric examinations.

Mokgobo said schools with less than 50 children are expected to obtain 100 percent pass rate.

“With this new programme, we further agreed that the analysis will be done after the June/July and September examination. When the assessment was done for the Welkom Secondary School, we had no choice but to declare the school as underperforming.

“The aim of the meeting is to inform the parents about the assessment results as well as to put our heads together to improve these results before the end of the year.”

According to Mokgobo, the lowest pass rate the school obtained was 23 percent in 2008. This is a drastic drop for the school that used to obtain pass rates of up to 96.8 percent a few years ago.

He said since the assessment, members of the department have visited the school for almost two weeks and have identified ill-discipline among children as one of the key challenges facing the school.

“After the meetings, we were convinced that Welkom Secondary has serious challenges. Not only is the behaviour of the children worrying but the physical structures of the school are a cause for concern. There is no fencing, classroom doors are missing and windows are broken,” said Mokgobo.

The results of the assessment did not come as a surprise to the parents who said they were aware of conditions at the school.

“There is a huge lack of communication; this was the first meeting between parents and teachers this year. I believe the problem at the school stems from the learners, parents, teachers, and the department of education.  But there is no once-off solution; it is a constant relationship between these parties that needs to be built.

“In order to prevent the pass rate of the school from plummeting to 23 percent again, I suggested that the business community sponsor the children to go on a revision camp,” said SGB member, parent and community leader, Bishop Shalton Kockera.

Teachers, who participated in the meeting, complained about the boisterous and disrespectful behaviour of the learners.

“We deal with a class of almost 50 children. These children are unruly, ill-mannered and sometimes even violent. It is not our jobs to teach them manners,” complained one teacher.

Mokgobo has promised that the department will convene more meetings between all the stakeholders at the school to try and find solutions facing the school and come up with strategies to improve the school’s results.

“There are only 25 school days left of the year, if one takes away the September holidays and weekends. It is no use blaming each other, we need to work together and find a solution before we end up with a bunch of failing matriculants.”