Glimmer of hope for Zululand maritime school

Jan 22, 2005
Author: P&S

There’s still a glimmer of hope that maritime studies at Zululand’s Tisand Technical High School may be able to continue.

This follows unofficial reports that several Durban-based shipping companies are investigating ways of coming to the rescue of the school and the more than 100 students who were left stranded high and dry without access to their chosen career path.

Earlier all hopes appeared to be fading after the National Ports Authority (NPA) failed to indicate whether it would continue financial support. The NPA has sponsored maritime studies at the school from the 1990s when Tisand High School began offering maritime studies as part of its curricula. But last year this funding dried up without a reason being offered, although the two teachers of maritime studies, who received no pay in over six months, continued working unpaid at their posts until the end of the year.

Tisand is one of only three schools countrywide offering maritime studies – the others are Simon’s Town High School and Durban’s New Forest High School, both of which receive financial assistance from the maritime industry. Of the three Tisand is the only one situated in what was formerly known as a ‘black township’ and consists entirely of black children.

Last year the school enjoyed a high pass rate among its matriculants. A considerable number of former Tisand matric students have continued their maritime studies at the Durban or Cape Institutes of Technology or have joined the National Ports Authority in the marine department. Other students are continuing their studies with bursaries obtained from several shipping lines. One student who received five distinctions for her matric in 2001 is currently studying at Wits University.

The loss of maritime courses at the school will make it especially hard for children in grades 11 and 12 who will now have to switch to other subjects in midstream.

A spokesman for the school said he still remained hopeful despite having not received any news from the NPA by the time school reopened this week.

The NPA did not respond to a request by Ports & Ships for comment.

Several private companies involved with shipping in South Africa have indicated they may be able to assist.

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