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School CP - June 2001

Corpun file 7330 at

Times of Swaziland, Mbabane, 19 June 2001

Students block road to school with large rocks

NKOMANZI -- Fundukweni High School near Pigg's Peak was yesterday closed down indefinitely by Hhohho Regional Education Officer Henry Khumalo after some students blocked the road to the school with large rocks and prevented other students from going into class with threats of beating them up.

In a parents and teachers meeting held yesterday at the school Khumalo said that the school should be closed until all their problems are solved.

During the meeting it transpired that five male students who were the only students still at the school premises had initiated the strike and at the top of their list was that their teachers should not carry out corporal punishment.

The five boys who were being guarded by community police are said to have disrupted school lessons last week Thursday when they placed 'umkhokha' (a plant that causes itching when in contact with flesh), on other student's chairs.

The students could not learn as they had to scrub their chairs to get rid of the powder.

On Friday the boys who are in Form 4, then blocked the road to the school with large rocks and thorny cactus plants ensuring that no cars could enter the school premises.

The police were called to come and guard the school.

During yesterday's meeting the head teacher of the school Phillip Simelane told the parents that a certain teacher had come to him to ask for the school's rules and regulations as laid out by the Education Ministry.

He said the following day students delivered a paper stating their complaints and were supported by relevant sections quoted from the ministry's regulations.

Simelane said when he asked the male teacher where his copy of the rules was, the reply he got was that he was just about to hand them over when the fiasco started.

When the Times got to the school yesterday morning, students had already been informed that the school was closed and the parents were attending the meeting, which was announced yesterday morning.

A strong police contingent ensured that peace reigned during the meeting and they were supplemented by the community police from the area, who were carrying sticks.

The five students, who are accused of leading the mini-revolt, sat a few metres from the parents, under guard by the community police.

During the meeting, the parents selected a committee to go the regional education offices to ask that the school reopen, given that they had already spent money on fees.

By the time they took the resolution, the REO had left the school.

© Copyright The Times of Swaziland.

Corpun file 7331 at

Times of Swaziland, Mbabane, 19 June 2001

... and male teacher 'teaching politics'?

NKOMANZI -- A male teacher at Fundukweni High School has been accused of teaching politics, being a PUDEMO member and influencing a number of male students to embark on a strike, leading to the closure of the school by Hhohho Regional Education Officer Henry Khumalo yesterday.

Tempers flared as over 200 parents, who attended the meeting called by the school head teacher Phillip Simelane, insisted that the teacher be made to stand up and tell them exactly why he was teaching their children about politics.

They said they believe politics is something the children should learn on their own when they are done with high school.

"This teacher has been calling our children to his house for nightly meetings and it makes one wonder what he was telling these young boys," one parent said.

The students in their petition demanded that corporal punishment be done away with and further asked for things like electricity, laboratory, library and telephones.

"It makes one wonder, when students demand that toilets be fixed or else they will go on strike. Proper toilet facilities were only built this year and this just goes to show that someone is putting these ideas into their young minds," one parent said.

Although no one wanted to come out with the name of the teacher who was known almost by everyone present, the parents resolved that they should select a committee that would look into the matter and report back to the REO so that the school is reopened soon.

Some students who were found loitering outside the school premises said they were interrogated by police, community police and their teachers and the interrogation came out with the five students who were said to be ring leaders under the teacher's guidance.

"On Friday and Sunday night the big boys went to the suspected teachers house and they spent a long time there and this morning came back with a list of complaints and blocked the roads to the school," a student said.

He further said that when they tried to get into class they blocked their paths and threatened to beat them up so they decided to stay outside class for their own safety before they were told by Khumalo that he was now closing down the school.

Even though the 'political' teacher was urged to own up and state what had really happened he did not do so and instead stood up and left the meeting and went to his house.

The boys were made to sit a few metres apart from the parents and were then led under the surveillance of community police to go and remove the rocks they had placed on the school drive way.

The parents were however, divided on how to deal with the matter as some of them said the students should be beaten up and others said they should not, but the teacher should be punished because he had polluted their young minds.

Simelane also asked the parents to state if they were not happy with his leadership then he would go to the TSC to ask for a transfer.

© Copyright The Times of Swaziland.

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