The Rivoni pupils had been protesting for the past few weeks, demanding that the Department renovate their school and build them new toilets as the ones they had were unusable.
During the protest action, pupils barricaded all the roads leading to their school with stones and burning tyres. The department has allegedly been promising for years to renovate the badly dilapidated school.
Zacharia Nyathi, who is a pupil’s representative at the school, said, “The Department brought some mobile toilets to the school and we have now entered into an agreement that will see them renovating the old Lemana College. We will then be moved there." The old Lemana College is situated not far from the Rivoni School for the Blind.
Nyathi added, “We need a new school, if they will rebuild the old Lemana College for our use – for accommodation and classes - then we as pupils will be happy."
The current conditions at the school are not conducive to learning as the school does not have enough classrooms, which has meant that more than one of the grades had to be combined in one classroom.
Last year SECTION27’s Left in the Dark report detailed extensive research into the conditions in 22 schools for the visually impaired, of which Rivoni School – which annually produces some of the country’s top visually impaired matriculants – was one of them.
'State of crisis'
The report found that schools for the visually impaired were in such a "state of crisis" that their students suffered "fundamental impairment of their human dignity”.
Despite these conditions, two of the top three performing students from schools with special needs in recent years have came from Rivoni School for the Blind. The students credited their teachers with helping them perform so well in their matric exam.
“In Grade 8 and 9 there were no books in our school, and even now the infrastructure is very poor, but the teachers are very good. If we get the infrastructure at that school, that school may be the best,” said former top student Ntshuxeko Maluleke.
The spokesperson for the Department of Education in the province, Dr Naledzani Rasila, said, “The department head met with the pupils and they agreed that the pupils would resume with lessons and take accommodation at Rivoni Society for the Blind while the renovations take effect at Lemana College”. – Health-e News
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