Matric learners at the Supreme Educational College in Braamfontein have accused their school of short-changing them by only registering them for five subjects instead of the seven required for a matric certificate.
Wits Vuvuzela interviewed six Supreme College learners, who asked not to be named.
“They are saying we must do five subjects this year and do two subjects next year. This means we cannot apply for university now,” said one of the learners.
The learners said the college’s deputy principal demanded that the they sign a form promising to only take five subjects. The deputy principal threatened to de-register them if they did not sign, according to the learners.
Part-time versus full-time
Nkululeko Ncube, principal of Supreme College, said the school has full time learners who are taking seven subjects and part time learners who are taking only five subjects.
The learners provided Wits Vuvuzela with forms listing the schools full-time and part-time “candidates”. They said they were full time learners however their names appeared on the list for “part-time”.
“We did not sign for part-time. They told us that it is because we will not be able to manage the workload. I don’t understand because we are still taught seven subjects but we will only write five for finals,” another learner said.[pullquote align=”right”]“Every time we ask what is happening we are sent to a different person in management. They all say it is not their concern.”[/pullquote]
Management does the shuffle
The learners told Wits Vuvuzela they asked school officials about why they were only taking five subjects but were refused a direct response.
“They told us ‘that is for us to know’,” one student said.[pullquote]“The school fee is R800 per month. Learners who agreed to the five subjects are only paying R600. I am still paying R800 but now I am being forced to be part-time.”[/pullquote]Another student added: “Every time we ask what is happening we are sent to a different person in management. They all say it is not their concern.”
The learners said some agreed to take only five subjects because they received a discount on their school fees.
“The school fee is R800 per month. Learners who agreed to the five subjects are only paying R600. I am still paying R800 but now I am being forced to be part-time,” the learner said.
The learners said the school had disregarded their right to choose and did not take their financial status into consideration. The learners admitted that they had become disheartened and had nothing “driving” them to attend classes.
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to a parent who did not want to be named in order to protect her child.
“My child’s education is suffering. She is getting old now. She cannot return again next year. This is not fair.”
Department of Basic Education response
Wits Vuvuzela approached the provincial department of education with the learners’ allegations but were told that regulating independent school’s like Supreme College was difficult. However, the department said that it had made enquiries at Supreme and it found “no evidence” to support the learners’ allegations.[pullquote align=”right”]’You guys think you are clever going around telling people what is going on at the school. Why are you doing that? When you have a problem with your father do you go around and tell the neighbours?’[/pullquote]
“Departmental documents indicate that all 47 learners are registered to write seven subjects this year,” the department said in an email to Wits Vuvuzela.
Following enquiries by the department, the learners alleged that Ncube gathered the matrics and accused them of stirring trouble.
“’You guys think you are clever going around telling people what is going on at the school. Why are you doing that? When you have a problem with your father do you go around and tell the neighbours?’,” the learner recounted.
The learners said their parents were even confused as to what was happening.
“My dad went and asked. They confused him with long answers,” the learner said.
Learners accused the school of fabricating their marks. They said they had not written a third Afrikaans examin June but had still received marks for it.
Ncube told Wits Vuvuzela that the third Afrikaans exam was not written as the teacher left. The marks on the learners’ report card for the third exam reflected an aggregate of their marks throughout the term.