Western Cape MEC Debbie Schäfer said it is working hard to place the 4 188 pupils at schools. Picture COURTNEY AFRICA
Western Cape MEC Debbie Schäfer said it is working hard to place the 4 188 pupils at schools. Picture COURTNEY AFRICA

Over 4000 pupils have not been placed in the WC despite the first term concluding

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Apr 13, 2021

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Over 4 000 pupils are yet to be placed at schools, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said.

On Tuesday the province’s Education Minister Debbie Schäfer said the number of pupils without schools had significantly dropped from 13 800 at the start of the year to 4 188 at the end of the first term.

Schäfer said: “This is not because of a lack of planning or effort on the part of the WCED. We have warned for years of the pressure that we are under, and have not received the necessary funding to address it. We are nonetheless doing everything we can to try and accommodate the increase this year as best we can. We have been able to appoint some additional teachers in areas where demand for places is growing quickly, which allowed us to place over 1 000 learners in the past week.”

Among those who had been placed are some of the children who had been learning under trees in Forest Village. Schäfer said the department had spent the past week making offers of placement for the pupils.

“Half of the learners have already been placed at schools. The department is still struggling to contact some of the parents of the remaining learners, who have provided incorrect contact numbers or whose phones go to voicemail. We urge the parents of those learners to contact their district to take up the placement offers,” she said.

The illegal school, Empumelelweni School, had about 480 pupils.

Pupils from the community-initiated school from Grades R up to matric, are being taught on an open field along Old Faure Road as there are no other schools in the area that can accommodate them – all the schools are full.

They are being taught by volunteer teachings with no guidance from the WCED.

Schäfer said lesson packs had been created for pupils who only recently got placed, and they had lots of work to catch up on. She said schools have received additional funds for printing these.

“We are looking to include these learners in our autumn schools where necessary. These efforts should result in the placement of all the remaining learners this year, but they will not solve the problem of underfunding,” she said.

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