Fire halts regular learning

The wall between the Grade 1 and Grade R classrooms were destroyed by the fire.

The class routine of the pupils of Harmony Primary School, in Steenberg, has been disrupted for months since their classrooms caught alight due to an electrical fault, in September last year.

Two out of three classrooms in the affected block were ruined and since the fire, the Grade 1 and a Grade R classes have had to use the library and computer room as temporary classrooms and because they occupied these rooms, the Grade 5 pupils’ library periods were put on hold.

Donovan Meyer, parent of a Grade 1 pupil, who is also on the governing body, approached Southern Mail because the school received no response from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) after they requested, on several occasions, that the classrooms be fixed. Mr Meyer, said after the WCED was alerted to the matter last year, they came out to assess the damage of the classrooms, but since then, no one has returned to repair the classrooms.

Mr Meyer said the classrooms were ruined and he didn’t think it was fair for his Grade 1 son to get lessons in a library. “I would be happy if the WCED put up a container while repairing the classrooms,” he said.

Meanwhile, said Mr Meyer, the school arranged for an electrician to fix the lighting and one of the classrooms is now in operation.

Mr Meyer said despite the setback of the fire, the school needs an upgrade. “This is an old school and it needs to be rebuilt. I’ve seen how nice Delta Primary School looks after its upgrade.”

Primary schools such as Fairview, Plantation and Die Duine have also had an upgrade as part of the Western Cape Education Department’s plans to complete 72 new and replacement schools between 2013 and 2016.According to Millicent Merton, spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department: “Planning on this replacement school has already started and construction is expected to start within the next year, budget permitting. A process is also under way to repair the three damaged classrooms.”

When Southern Mail asked principal Ernest Esau if he had heard anything from the WCED about the classrooms which need repair work, he said “It’s nothing personal but I am declining to comment”.