Parents of Vulamasango Primary School in Kanyamazane near Mbombela in Mpumalanga have pleaded with the government to increase the number of classrooms to ensure social distancing at the school.

The plea follows the 100 % attendance of primary school learners. It is one of the schools experiencing overcrowding.

The school has close to 1500 learners, with 23 classrooms. With the return of all learners, most of the classrooms are overcrowded.

Some of the classrooms have more than 70 learners. However, all the necessary COVID-19 precautions are being adhered to at the school.

The learners have committed to wear masks and keep social distancing.

“I am happy to be back at school, and I will make sure that I wear my mask properly. I sanitise and wash my hands, we missed a lot of work and we are far behind and you could see that our teachers are trying to maintain social distancing,” says a pupil.

Member of the School Governing Body Thulile Mamba says teaching and learning become difficult because of the overcrowding under the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As much as we tried to buy more furniture, buy more utensils for the kids to use, the number is still big. In some classes, the furniture is not enough which is a challenge. Teachers have no space to move around, it is still day one. As the SGB we still have to work hard to prepare for a better teaching environment.”

Provincial government working to address the issue 

MEC for Education Bonakele Majuba has acknowledged that some schools are experiencing overcrowding.

“There are challenges here and there in the province in terms of space, there might be overcrowding but what we are doing, we are negotiating with churches, community halls and all others that are nearby these schools with overcrowding to accommodate these learners where there is overcrowding.”

According to the Education Department, the first day of the 100% attendance in primary schools went smoothly without any major hiccups in the province.