Desperate parents stage school sit-in

Cape Town 160114. Parents who are struggling to get their children in at Mfuleni Primary school standing around the school hoping to get a space for them. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Zodidi/Argus

Cape Town 160114. Parents who are struggling to get their children in at Mfuleni Primary school standing around the school hoping to get a space for them. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Zodidi/Argus

Published Jan 15, 2016

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Cape Town - Parents desperate to enrol their children in school staged a sit-in at a Mfuleni school on Thursday to demand placement. According to the school governing body of Mfuleni Primary, about a 100 parents arrived at the school wanting to have their children placed but the school was already full.

Some of them later staged a sit-in, demanding that the Department of Education resolve the issue.

Parent and community activist Mzoli Matutu and his son, Zuko, 6, were among the group of about 50 parents and children in the school’s assembly area.

Zuko was dressed in full school uniform with his bag and ready to start learning.

Matutu said they had been turned away by the principal who told them Grade 1 was full. “He told me there is no space although I did apply for my child’s placement last year, already.”

Matutu said the school never responded to his application which made him think that the application was successful.

“All the schools around this area are full. Where can we take these children because they have a right to education?”

Another parent, Fikiswa Nkohla, said if her son, Xoliseka, 13, was not accepted by the school it would be the second successive year that he missed out on school.

Xoliseka who was supposed to be in Grade 8 this year, was struggling to enrol in Grade 6.

His mother moved him from a school in Langa after she married and relocated to Mfuleni.

She said when her son didn’t get into a school last year she had no option but to keep him at home.

In August she reapplied for Xoliseka for this year, but with no success.

Nkohla said the past year had been a nightmare.

“He doesn’t have anything to do during the day and I am afraid the more time he spends at home and not at school the more rebellious he will become.”

Principal Vela Ndobongwana said there had been an influx into the area every year when school reopened.

“Our school needs an expansion. The building is old and can only take a limited number. More and more people are coming to Western Cape schools because of the stellar matric results produced by the province. We can’t hide from that.”

School governing body chairman Silvester Moloi said the school’s previous governing body had written to the Department of Education to ask that the buildings be replaced to accommodate more children.

Jessica Shelver, spokeswoman for MEC of Education Debbie Schäfer, said many parents who had recently moved to Mfuleni were now seeking placement for their children, across all grades.

“Our officials have been at Mfuleni Primary School today (on Thursday) to assist parents.

“The school is already oversubscribed as many parents enrolled their children early or on time last year.

“We are trying to ascertain the ages and grades of the learners.”

She said it was unacceptable that parents who had not enrolled their children on time were now wanting to disrupt schooling.

“We urge parents and communities to work with us in the interest of our learners’ education.”

She said the plan was to build two new schools in Mfuleni, one primary and one high school, but the department had been unable to acquire land to build.

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Cape Argus

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