With school starting tomorrow, the Western Cape Education Department is still scrambling to find placements for over 11 249 learners. The department spokesperson Paddy Attwell said that the previous figure has not changed significantly because school officials only returned to work yesterday.
Last week, Education MEC, Debbie Schafer, said that 3 200 Grade 1 pupils and 4 400 Grade 8 pupils still need to be placed in schools.
“At this stage, parents will not be guaranteed their first school of choice if their children have not yet been placed. Parents should accept places they have been offered, or apply to schools that the district advises them to apply to. The majority of our schools have indicated that they are full. We can therefore only refer parents to schools where there is availability – these are only in certain areas and certain grades,” Schafer said.
She added that more than 130 000 learners have moved to the Western Cape from other provinces over the past five years, the majority of those learners are from the Eastern Cape.
“The challenge arises when people move to the province without planning in advance or without enrolling their children at a school. It, therefore, makes it impossible for the WCED to foresee and plan accordingly,” Schafer said.
Meanwhile, The WCED said its making improvements to its school safety plan ahead of the academic year. The aim of the safety plan is to reduce the effects of violence in schools. The department will focus on areas such as Manenberg, Hanover Park, Delft and Mitchells Plain where crime remains rife.
“In terms of policy, every school must have a safety committee that’s responsible for a plan that deals with safety issues, including gang activity in the area.” Attwell said.