Supreme Failure

by Shandukani Mulaudzi and Emelia Motsai

TEACHERS resigning from the Supreme Educational College in Braamfontein have left matric students stranded just before their preliminary exams.

A parent of two children attending the school, Gideon Ndlovu, said he was concerned his children were not learning anything at the school as teachers were resigning with no replacement staff.

He said teachers were leaving because they were not being paid their full salaries as stipulated in their contracts. “My children are complaining, especially the one in grade 12 because she will be writing her matric soon and I cannot transfer them at this stage of the year,” Ndlovu said.

Strange pay agreements

A teacher, who asked not to be named out of fear of being victimised, confirmed that Supreme teachers were not being paid their full salaries.

“Teachers are not getting paid. It’s been two months now. They have been paying us R1 000 instead of our normal pay,” the teacher said.

Three other teachers, who resigned from the school because of not being paid, agreed.

One of them, who asked not to be named, said on July 17 the teachers at the school had a meeting and they decided to give the school management a letter demanding all the money owed to them.

“But the next morning when we arrived there was a security guard at the reception. We were told not to go to the staff room or to the classrooms.”

She said they were told to wait at reception, then called into the manager’s office one by one.

“We were supposed to sign a paper saying even if they were to pay us R50, we would still teach,” said the teacher. She refused to sign the contract and left the school on that day.

Management denial

When Wits Vuvuzela went to the school, management refused to give their names: “Just refer to us as ‘the school management team’,” they said.

The management team said they had never received a complaint from a parent and were shocked by the allegation that they had no teachers.

They said they had replacements for the teachers who had resigned. They asked Wits Vuvuzela about its sources.

“These faceless people are making all these allegations all of a sudden. Why do they come to you? Why not to us, or the CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration] or the department of education? In fact why not go to a reputable newspaper?” said one of them.

Government subsidy revoked

The teacher who is still at the school said he was shocked the school was facing financial difficulties because it received a government subsidy. However, the school was closed for almost a week in April because they had failed to pay the rent.

The school management team denied having financial issues, and said they were paying salaries agreed upon. But in a telephonic interview one of the managers admitted that the school was indeed having financial troubles.

She said the school had lost its subsidy because it received a less than 54% pass rate and they were now dependant on parents paying their fees, which some were not doing.

Management said publishing the article in Wits Vuvuzela would ruin the lives of other students.

“We have more than 20 students who come through these gates every year to learn for their studies. You are just spoiling this process. We don’t want to sit in court and start suing each other,” she said.

 

@ShanduMul

@emeliamotsai

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