Only a trickle of students turned up when 13 of the 40 secondary schools re-opened in Soweto town ship in South Africa on Wednesday (1 February).
Only a trickle of students turned up when 13 of the 40 secondary schools re-opened in Soweto town ship in South Africa on Wednesday (1 February). Few teachers appeared and, at some schools, none at all came. Elsewhere in South Africa, black schools were reportedly better attended on the first day of school after almost two years of boycotts.
SYNOPSIS: The children who came along to the Sibongile Lower Primary School in Soweto looked happy enough to be back. Yet it was at Soweto in 1976 that clashes between students and police led to six months of rioting around the country. At Orlando North High School, children were handed registration forms. Education officials claimed that thousands of pupils had registered, but low turn-outs conflicted with their optimistic figures. At Mahlobo Secondary School, striking students were said to have burned registration forms to prevent 200 other students from registering.
More than 500 black teachers resigned last year over the contentious issue of Bantu (African) education, but about 200 were reported to have later withdrawn their resignations. Black students believe their education is interior to that of whites, and want it to be handled by one Ministry, rather than under racial lines.
Spokesmen in Soweto say that parents there are worried about the education their children have been-and are-missing.
Observers believe that renewed clashes between students and police in Soweto could once more set off a wave of nationwide protests. The striking students who burned registration forms are members of a newly-formed Soweto Students' League. They tried to dissuade those trying to enrol to boycott study as a protest against the Bantu education system.