Students riots in Mogoditshane

Nko Ya Phiri primary school was closed on Monday after a group of Mogoditshane Junior Secondary school students forced teachers and students out of the school.

According to an eye witness, the students first chased away a sweet vendor who sells near the school, then told the night watchman not to interfere while they evicted the pupils from the school.

The Gazette made efforts to interview the school authorities, but the telephone rang unanswered. Unconfirmed reports suggest that most primary schools in Kgatleng did not reopen as traditional leaders had advised parents not to send their children to school.

Contacted for comment, the Minister of Education & Skills Development, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, said she could answer any questions on situations that happened while she was not there. She said she had not received any reports of some schools remaining closed.

Asked why primary schools were reopened while teachers were still on strike, Moitoi said some teachers who are members of the Botswana Primary Teachers Union (BOPRITU) are not part of the strike.

Rumours at the weekend however suggest that the government reopened the primary schools as cover because foreign missions had met the Minister and threatened to transfer their children to South African schools if schools did not reopen.

But government spokesperson, Dr. Jeff Ramsay, denied the report. “Further to Friday evening’s spot announcement by the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, this is to further inform members of the media that Government denies malicious rumours being circulated that the said decision was the result of being contacted by foreign missions, or is otherwise in anyway related to the reopening of some private schools,” he said.

Last week the Minister of Education & Skills Development announced the closure of all public schools as riots spread countrywide. The Minister said she had closed the schools to ensure the safety of pupils and students.

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