Nelspruit Private College mired in controversy over learner safety

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Parents at the Nelspruit Private College in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, have accused the school of refusing them access to inspect hostels that accommodate learners.

The parents claim that the school requested parents to bring learners to school last week. The parents wanted to confirm whether the place was properly cleaned and was adhering to regulations aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus.

Thousands of grade 7 and 12 learners across the country are expected to be in their respective classrooms after a two-month break due to the COVID-19 global outbreak.

The Basic Education department has resolved that schooling should resume to complete the 2020 academic year.

However, their return to school has brought a number challenges because of the COVID-19 regulations that schools should be fumigated before being occupied by learners.

Nelspruit Private College is being accused by parents that it did not allow them to inspect the hotel and classrooms. Some of the parents say the school management says they should drop their children outside the school premises

Meanwhile, the  Metropolitan Group of schools, which owns the Nelspruit Private College, says parents have the right to see the hotels and classrooms where their children are studying and staying.

The CEO Colbert Kouatcho says it was a human error for parents to be denied access into the school.

“The parents of the children have the right to enter the premises and ask  to see where are their children going to school we are not saying nobody must  go in, if  there was misfortune about that in sense that maybe a parents was not allowed  entry at the school it was just a human error not to say that we saying No, if  we saying No the department of health was there , if we saying two teams of the department of education they were also there why we did say no them,” says Koutsho.

The Provincial Department of Education says all schools should adhere to the COVID-19 regulations and parents should be allowed to satisfy themselves when they bring in  their children at school. MEC  Bonakele Majuba.

“We would expect all schools to transparent especially when they are dealing with this question of life and death and independent schools are suppose to allow parents to ensure themselves that their learners are safe now that we told about this issue we are  going to make sure that we visit all independent schools although we were visiting independent schools  but those which have  such challenges  is quite good we are told  so that we can intervene  because we don’t want parents to be worried not knowing in the hostels,” says Majuba.

The school has invited all parents who have experienced difficulties to have access into the school premises to go back to the school. They will be allowed to assess the building and satisfy themselves.

Below is a graphic of governments back to school plan: