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ANC flags school application and unplaced learners crisis across the Western Cape

The scene at the Metro North Education District Offices in Parow where in January this year hundreds of parents tried to register their children for the 2023 school year. Photographer: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

The scene at the Metro North Education District Offices in Parow where in January this year hundreds of parents tried to register their children for the 2023 school year. Photographer: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 26, 2023

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Cape Town - The ANC says the Western Cape Education Department’s updated school application system is not working and the WCED should adopt a more effective strategy to deal with the influx of applications for 2024.

ANC provincial spokesperson for education Khalid Sayed said at the beginning of every academic year, thousands of learners across the province were not placed in schools.

He said the WCED’s application timelines gave parents between May 29 and June 19 to confirm acceptance of the learner placements in schools.

“Between July 19 and August 31, schools review admission lists and contact parents who applied on the system and still need a place.

“Only from September 1 to December 15 will the WCED admission teams start to work on learner placements and resolve outstanding cases.”

ANC provincial education spokesperson Khalid Sayed Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News (ANA)

Sayed urged Education MEC David Maynier to review these and said there was no reason for the WCED admissions team to have not got involved as early as July 19 to assist schools.

“It is imperative that the authorities work tirelessly to find solutions that will ensure all learners are placed in schools.

“Thousands of parents and learners not yet placed in schools for next year remain anxious and distressed as the new school year fast approaches.”

Sayed said: “Premier Alan Winde’s government always blames this on late applications and influx of learners from other provinces, but nothing could be further from the truth.”

He said the real reason for the annual crisis was “the DA government’s lack of proper planning, foresight, and no commitment to ensure that every child in the province is guaranteed quality education”.

Sayed urged the provincial government to develop a comprehensive and sustainable long-term plan to address this persistent unplaced learner crisis in the province.

“This plan should focus on addressing the population growth patterns, teacher capacity and shortage of schools in the province.”

Western Cape Education MEC David Maynier. Photographer: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Responding to the allegations Maynier said: “Sayed’s claims are quite bizarre. ‘The system’ does not decide on application outcomes, schools do, and they are still making their offers.

“The initial placement period only ends later this year, at which point we will assist all learners who have not yet been offered a place at any school.”