Cape Town - About 500 pupils in the province are still without a placement at school, even though the first academic school term ends on Friday.
While the Western Cape Education Department said most of the pupils who were looking to be placed in a classroom at the start of the school year had since been placed, another group of pupils had registered their names on the database also looking for school placements.
For a number of weeks, scores of pupils had been struggling to find a school to attend, particularly in the Mitchells Plain area.
This had led to the Mitchells Plain Education Forum seeking legal advice and threatening court action.
Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said about 500 names were listed on their database and this figure fluctuated as pupils were placed and arrived. These pupils had applied for places after the first term had started.
“Many arrive daily from other provinces and countries. One must take into account that throughout the school year, a small percentage of the population is always on the move, which means that we will always be placing pupils
Casey said that in the Western Cape Education Department’s Metro South district, which included Mitchells Plain, about 173 pupils were yet to be placed.
“All pupils looking for placement at the start of the school year and the subsequent weeks up to the end of February have been placed.”
Mitchells Plain was no longer the area most in demand. “The majority of the 173 pupils are now in the Masiphumelele/Fish Hoek area… and I again stress that they arrived within the last two weeks.”
Casey said the majority of these pupils were from other countries. Nearly 27 000 pupils had enrolled in the Western Cape this year from other countries and other parts of South Africa. The majority, 22 257, came from the Eastern Cape.
Casey said there had been 2 195 late enrolments at schools after January 28 which had been “disruptive to the system”. The school term had started on January 15.
Chairwoman of the Mitchells Plain Education Forum, Colleen Horswell, said she was aware of about 440 pupils who had not been placed. She said the forum assisted parents from all areas of the city.
Horswell said while it was positive that the majority of children had been placed, this had resulted in overcrowded classrooms. The forum was pursuing legal action against the department.
“They need to give an answer how they are going to deal with enrolments for 2015. Because there are not enough schools in Mitchells Plain.”
Horswell conceded that there were instances where parents had applied late.
“Whether they apply early or late, there must be a place.”
The admissions process for next year had already begun, with the first phase coming to an end on June 27.