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

Equal Education Law Centre and Cape Education MEC clash over unplaced pupils

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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Cape Town - Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), acting on behalf of the parents of the pupils attending Empumelelweni Primary School “makeshift school’’ under the trees in Eerste River, said it was disappointed at Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s ”inaccurate statement“ about action taken to remedy the issue.

In a statement released last week, Schäfer said her department has found a school for all the pupils currently learning under the trees in Forest Village.

The statement further said: “The WCED has been contacting parents over the past week to make offers of placement and half of the pupils have already been placed at schools.

“The department is still struggling to contact some of the parents of the remaining pupils, who have provided incorrect contact numbers or whose phones go to voicemail.”

Some of the parents of those pupils protested outside the provincial legislature last week, demanding the government urgently build a school for their pupils.

EELC, which has also assisted the parents, said of the 104 parents of pupils attending the makeshift school, only five parents have been contacted by the WCED offering placement for pupils in schools.

"The numbers at the school grow by the day, as more parents in surrounding areas continue to enrol their unplaced children – the MEC’s statement does not correspond with what parents are currently experiencing," said EELC.

Schäfer said they have received a letter from the EELC, with a separate list of pupils to the one the department has.

Schäfer said, in their letter, the EELC acknowledged that the department asked for the names of additional pupils by April 9, and that they have waited until now to give it to the department.

She said, in the intervening period, the officials have made every effort to place all those pupils in schools.

"The list that has now been provided does not appear to be the same as the list of 210 names we had been given previously, which I referred to in my statement and confirmed could all be offered places. We are now verifying and cross-checking this additional list, so we can contact the parents to arrange placement," said Schäfer.

Cape Argus

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