Parents livid over lack of communication from WCED regarding placements

Chantel Hendricks (middle) with some of the aggrieved parents. Picture: Supplied

Chantel Hendricks (middle) with some of the aggrieved parents. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 6, 2024


Cape Town - A group of parents from Freedom Park informal settlement in Ottery are claiming the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) was purposefully keeping them in the dark about the placement of their children in schools due to their poverty.

The 45-year-old said that her niece moved from the Northern Cape to Cape Town last year after her mother abandoned her.

“I immediately went to the schools in the area to apply for a transfer, and at every school, it seemed as if they hear you are from the informal settlement, they have this attitude.

“I then learnt that it was not only me experiencing the ‘ons sal jou laat weet’ (we will let you know) excuse. There are around 16 children here who are still waiting to be placed for various reasons and different grades,” she said.

Hendricks added that every one of the parents who have been told to wait has still not received the promised return phone call.

“We have walked from school to school, and to the district department, without answers.

“They are disappointing us, and we feel as if our children’s right to education is not being taken seriously. Is it because we live in a plakkerskamp? That’s what I want to know,” she said.

Chantel with the unplaced learners of Freedom Park plakkerskamp. Picture: Supplied

Linda Cupido, 51, who has been supporting the parents, said the parents were not just disappointed but frustrated too.

“To see everyone walk the way they do to get their children in school is just not right, everyone is waiting on phone calls, while the department is keeping them waiting.

“These children want to be in school, what is the department waiting on? For them to become children from the informal settlements standing at robots asking for food? Or for them to become involved in the wrong elements?”

Retired police captain and community activist Keith Blake said that he understood the parents’ and children’s desperation to be helped.

“What I picked up is that these kids want to be educated and treated like students, they want to be accepted as a student at one of the many schools, yet their parents are not receiving feedback.

“There is no line of communication between the school, department and parents and that is all that is needed, just feedback,” he said.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said there were no applications for admission for 2024 on their system for the list of learners they received. She said the list has been provided to the district and contact will be made with the children’s representative.

“On initial investigation, and using the names and ages provided to us, one of the learners was placed after applying extremely late. Four of the learners could not be found at all on our system as having previously registered in the system or as having made requests for placement at our district office. Six learners were in our system previously but had deregistered from their previous school.

“We can confirm receipt of the application forms of two learners that need an assessment. Attempts to contact the guardians of the learners previously for assessment were not successful,” she said.

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