Western Cape schools are full - MEC Schäfer admits
“I must go on record and be clear: Western Cape schools are full,” Western Cape MEC for Education Debbie Schäfer admitted.
Schäfer said the WCED was implementing a plan to place the remaining 2 550 pupils that are registered as unplaced in the province. The plan includes the provision of 129 mobile classrooms to schools, as well as the addition of teaching posts.
In a statement released on Thursday, the MEC said some schools already have extra classrooms available while others required mobile classrooms.
“Unfortunately, the mobile classrooms take time to construct and can’t be placed immediately. However, schools that have received the additional teaching posts have agreed to accommodate pupils in alternative spaces (such as the school hall or laboratory space) until the classrooms are constructed,” she said.
Schäfer said the department had to reprioritise existing funding for this plan to come about.
She said the loss in academic learning for those pupils who are yet to be placed was a concern, but lesson packs for the first term would be made available at the schools where the learners would be placed. District officials will also guide schools on how to support learners with a catch-up plan, and will also be monitoring the learners’ assessment results for the second term to determine future support programmes.
The department sighted a trend in migration would also be a factor in the near future.
“We placed 21 021 new pupils in 2020 and 19 452 pupils in 2021, most of whom are from the Eastern Cape.
“At this stage, we will have to plan very carefully to place those who have applied for space for 2022 given the constraints of our budget. Late applications and sudden growth in certain areas hinder this process, and parents should not wait until the start of the next school year before trying to find a place for their children,” said Schäfer.