File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Parents close secondary schools over space constraints, fees

By Athandile Siyo Time of article published Feb 23, 2021

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Cape Town – Angry Kraaifontein residents and parents closed Bloekombos and Masibambane secondary schools yesterday due to space constraints.

This as parents yesterday camped outside Wolseley Secondary School calling on the principal to let learners enter after they were allegedly denied entry for not paying registration and book fees.

Kraaifontein Community leaders yesterday said that thousands of high school learners, starting from Grade 8, were struggling to find placement in schools in the area due to there not being enough space to accommodate them.

Community leader Linda Phitho said the issue of space has been an ongoing concern for several years.

“The schools were closed by the community due to space issues after failed attempts to liaise with the department of education officials by community leaders.

“The biggest issue is placement for high school learners because we have many primary schools, and when the learners pass Grade 7, they struggle with getting placement.

’’Covid-19 has further put a strain because physical distancing only allows a certain number in each of the already limited classrooms,” he said.

Wolseley residents and parents yesterday said they were allegedly denied entry to their local high school because they had not paid the registration and book fee of R350.

Resident Sophia Thomas said: “The children had to stand outside the school with us, because they were refused entry due to not having the money. Our concern is that the children are losing out on school work.”

Western Cape provincial Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said they were aware that community members blocked access to Bloekombos Secondary.

“It is unfortunate that they prevented teaching and learning from taking place. One simply cannot shut down schools and demand new ones be built.

“The WCED needs to plan for new schools, taking into account where there are the greatest needs and demands, budget and resources. Land is also an issue.

“We again appeal to parents who have children that are not yet placed to contact our district office.”

Hammond said that she was not aware of the issues reported at Wolseley Secondary School, and was awaiting feedback on the situation.

Meanwhile, the ANC said it was dismayed that no school was planned for Forest Village and that now about 4 000 learners were learning under trees.

Last week, residents who were relocated last year from several communities in the Cape Flats opened Empumeleweni School, saying the department had given them empty promises when they asked for a school to be built.

ANC shadow education MEC Khalid Sayed said: “When areas like this one are planned, it should incorporate enough land for public needs such as schools, hospitals/clinics, libraries, sporting facilities and service delivery or utilities.''

The department said it was aware of the school allegedly operating illegally in an attempt to strong-arm the WCED into building a school.

“The WCED had originally offered at the end of last year various alternatives in which to place their children – both primary and high school,” the department said.

Every offer was denied, “or it was on condition that we use their existing teachers” and create a “new school” on the premises of another.

“We cannot simply appoint teachers or create new schools in such a manner.

“Since addressing parents directly, some parents are now accepting placement at the schools we have offered, including Apex Primary School.”

Cape Times

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