The effect of protests on learner’s performance in Malamulele Central Circuit Vhembe District
Schools in South Africa are experiencing a high volume of arson and closure due to violent and non-violent protests which are unrelated to education. This affects learners, teachers and various stakeholders within the country in different ways. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of protests on learners’ performance in Malamulele Central Circuit, Vhembe District. Qualitative research methodology was employed to deal with firsthand experiences. It was a case study of one school. Random sampling was used to sample all the participants. The population of this study comprised of twelve learners, four per grade from Grades 10, 11, and 12; three teachers from Grades 10, 11 and 12 and two School Governing Board (SGB) members who were randomly sampled. All participants were individually interviewed so that the information gathered was not influenced by
each other’s experiences. In order to gather first-hand experience both learners and teachers were observed. The findings revealed that learners and teachers affected by protests were having a lot of work to complete in less time than the prescribed period and that they were highly depressed by the whole situation. This influenced their academic performance negatively. Furthermore, these learners and teachers were left with emotional wounds. This investigation recommends that affected learners, together with their teachers, need to be given the privilege to choose between sittings for exams with the rest of the unaffected learners or have special exams later on. The whole population needs to be supported emotionally through counselling and given psychological support.
Keywords: Academic performance, arson, Learner performance, School closure, Protest, achievement.