Almost six months after the Eastern Cape education department had to urgently close down the Reshwa Secondary School in Peddie due to dwindling numbers, pupils and parents claim they have been abandoned.
Khula Children’s Rights Organisation’s Petros Majola said they have received calls from a number of parents and learners who claim there are days the pupils go without food.
“They go to class with empty stomachs. Some learners decided to drop out of school and go back home as they exhausted all avenues but still no joy,” said Majola.
The pupils were transferred at the beginning of the year to the Healdtown Comprehensive School outside Fort Beaufort, after only 17 pupils returned for the new school year.
Now the handful of pupils, who live at the school’s hostel, say they face an uphill battle, far from their families.
Incidentally, this is the school where the late former president Nelson Mandela matriculated in 1938.
Eastern Cape premier, Phumulo Masualle in 2018 announced plans to close over 2,000 small schools in the province.
But a member of the school governing body of Reshwa Secondary School claimed there were no final discussions held with them to close the school.
“We held meetings with the department as early as July last year. They promised that the closure of the school was a temporary measure and come 2019 our children will study at a school closer to their homes,” she charged.
She said some parents had already opted last year to move their grade 12 pupils to nearby schools, instead of sending them almost 160km to Healdtown.