Cape Town - An illegal school in Khayelitsha has expanded to another building and teachers say pupil numbers have doubled since last week.
The school opened more than a week ago in a single-roomed building, which is also used as a church, in Zwelitsha. Grade R to 3 pupils are being accommodated in this building while Grade 4 to 7 pupils and their volunteer teachers moved to a church building in Kuyasa on Tuesday.
“We were given this church due to overcrowding,” said one of the teachers, Pamela Kaba.
Teachers said the school had begun with about 80 children and now had 160 pupils, with more arriving every day.
On Monday, Education MEC Donald Grant filed a complaint against the school with the Harare police.
He said the school was not registered with the provincial department.
On Tuesday, Grant said he had been informed of the school’s expansion and had received reports that pupil numbers were increasing rapidly.
“The department is looking into the possibility that members of the community are encouraging learners enrolled at other registered schools to leave their schools to attend this illegal operation.”
Grant said there had been reports in other provinces of community members and unemployed teachers setting up an illegal school to compel the provincial department to establish a new school in an area.
But the teachers at the Zwelitsha school said they were volunteering to help the children.
Certain community members were claiming that schools in Khayelitsha were overcrowded, while Grant said the department had a list of only 138 children who needed places.
“We have confirmed with each of the school principals in Khayelitsha and there are more than 950 places available as of (Wednesday),” the MEC said.
Parents have told the Cape Argus that they tried to enrol their children in schools in Khayelitsha, but were told the schools were full.
Volunteer teacher Babalwa Mdluli said about 400 children needed places.
Teachers said the reason the department believed there were only 138 children who needed placing was that officials had come for only a few hours on a single day to register children and not all parents had been able to attend.
Grant said parents who had not enrolled their children could do so now. “They simply have to pick up the phone and call 021 900 7038 or 021 900 7173. Their child will be placed in a school immediately.”