Number of unplaced learners in Western Cape greatly reduced, says WCED
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Cape Town - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said it had made excellent progress in placing learners in the province over the past few weeks, and was on track to place the remaining 735 learners this week.
The WCED revealed this the standing committee on education in the legislature, when it tabled an update on the number of learners placed to date, and the strategy to deal with the projected increase in the number of learners for the 2022 academic year.
Committee chairperson Lorraine Botha said they supported the steps taken by the department to effectively reduce the number of unplaced learners in the province over the past three months from approximately 23 000 to 735, and its indication that it would eradicate the list by Friday.
Botha said plans included the provision of transport and meals, and the approval of the creation and funding of 179 additional posts, 129 mobile classrooms and two new schools.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said their curriculum and assessment directorate was also implementing a detailed catch-up plan for the learners who have started school late this year.
Khalid Sayed, the ANC’s provincial spokesperson on education, said it was really concerning that as of yesterday there remained 735 learners who had not been placed in school. More than 650 of those learners were concentrated in the Metro East District, mainly affecting previously disadvantaged communities like Khayelitsha, Delft and Mfuleni.
Sayed said it was disappointing that there was no willingness to find a lasting solution to the challenge. He said mobile classrooms were only a temporary solution and may bring additional challenges.
Amy-Leigh Payne, a Legal Resource Centre attorney, said the centre was happy with the assistance it had received from the WCED regarding the placement of learners who had approached them, but felt that it should not need the intervention of lawyers for learners to be placed three months after the start of the school academic year.
“It is unacceptable that thousands of learners did not receive any form of education for an entire term, which places them in an unfair position in an already unequal and dysfunctional public education system,” she said.