Addressing the inaugural gathering of the Pholela High School Alumni Association in Durban on Saturday, Premier Mchunu announced major refurbishments for the Bulwer-based institution which, owing to years of neglect dating back to 1937, is in a serious state of deterioration.
Premier Mchunu was a learner at Pholela from 1964 to 1967.
Following a visit during Cabinet Operation Sukuma Sakhe in 2016, the Department of Education conducted an assessment and found that conditions at Pholela were also unsafe.
Premier Mchunu welcomed the financial injection to revamp Pholela High School.
“Pholela will be extended into a larger educational centre, offering a mix of commerce, science, engineering and graphic art-focused curriculum. It is expected that the new school will be ready for handover in 2022, with the intake increasing from 800 to 1000 pupils. The Departments of Education and Public Works are leading the tender process for both the major refurbishment and minor repair and maintenance of Pholela High School.
“We must see ourselves as post-apartheid missionaries who want the child of Africa to have a good, if not world-class education. Like similar historic formerly church-run institutions, Pholela High School must continue to live and grow even stronger. We want choices for the children of KwaZulu Natal, not fewer. At the same time, those educational choices must provide a safe, secure, healthy and productive environment for learners who are ready to function in a modern, technologically-driven world.
“Mission schools such as Lovedale, Pholela and many others, were islands of quality in an environment geared to undermine the destiny of the black child. Mission education produced an intellectual class that would see themselves as no less than their white counterparts.
“They instilled values of intellectual quality, hard work, discipline, honesty and spiritual uprightness, characteristics that allow any learner to thrive anywhere in the world. In many ways they also produced patriots and revolutionaries.
“Today institutions like Pholela are caught between the need for quality education and the reality of inadequate infrastructure and public finances. These institutions are victims of our success in broadening access to education. Model C schools have taken up many learners who would otherwise go to schools such as Pholela, Mariannhill, Amanzimtoti, Inkamana, Inanda Seminary, Ohlange Institute, Little Flower and Ixopo Seminary among others.
“As a result these schools require funding from government. In the process, many have lost their independence and character, which previously set them apart from the rest.
“The structural refurbishment of Pholela is very urgent and necessary. We however have an opportunity to ensure proper and ethical management of the school, the redirection of the curriculum to reflect better the needs of the modern world and critically, active involvement of the community, students, parents and Alumni in ensuring the financial welfare of the school. One feature of all successful schools is this – the active involvement of the community, students, parents and alumni”.
Issued on behalf of the Premier of KwaZulu Natal Mr Willies Mchunu
For details contact: Thami Ngidi
Mobile: 066 3066 793