Forest Village residents decided to open a school under the tree after Government moved them from different areas in 2019 and never provided School for their kids. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Forest Village residents decided to open a school under the tree after Government moved them from different areas in 2019 and never provided School for their kids. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Concern over wet weather impacting illegal school in Cape Town

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Mar 16, 2021

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Cape Town - As bad weather signals the approach of winter, learners and educators at an informal school in an open field in Forest Village, Eerste River, have been told to remain at home on rainy days.

Since its inception in mid-February, the makeshift school has already adopted a name and uniform. There are seven educators addressing the educational needs of around 380 learners at the Empumelelweni Combined School.

The school lacks appropriate seating, desks, boards and other infrastructure such as ablution facilities.

“They don’t go to school as soon as it rains, because we tell all the students and teachers that when it rains, they must stay at home,” said task team secretary handling the matter, Gladys Minky Bashe.

“It does affect (schooling) because the school is not registered, so we are even concerned about first-term reports. We are not quite sure at this moment. The (Education) department wants to meet with us again.”

Bashe said the Department of Human Settlements had offered land on which to place mobile containers. She said, however, that they still needed to inspect the site.

“We are not sure of anything at this moment because negotiations are still at play.”

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said they were aware of the school, which it said was operating illegally.

“Certain community members are demanding that the WCED build a school within the new housing development that has been developed. The community has thus allegedly created an illegal school in an attempt to strong-arm the WCED into building a school. The WCED has been confronted by similar attempts in the past, where certain teachers are vying for jobs through this kind of action by community members.”

Since addressing parents directly, and not through the task team, some parents have accepted placements at the schools offered by WCED, said Hammond.

The list of learners needing placement that had been given to the department was also filled with inaccurate or misleading information, Hammond said.

“We will continue to engage with the parents of the community on the placement of their children. Unfortunately, those who have refused to take up our offers are doing so to the detriment of their child’s education. They have also lost opportunities for placement at other schools, as those places have now been given to parents who have accepted them.”

Hammond said the WCED recently completed two new schools in the area: Forest Village Leadership Academy in 2015/16 and Apex High School in 2017/18.

“We also completed a new mobile school in 2019/20 called Apex Primary School, which was expanded with 10 mobile classrooms in 2020.”

Cape Argus

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