Dunoon protesters seek school for kids
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Cape Town - Dunoon residents who have occupied a vacant mobile school in a bid to ensure an education for unplaced children in their area say they - and their children - will not be moved.
Education officials visited the site on Monday where they recorded the names of 75 children in Grades R to 7 and found that 66 had never been registered at a Western Cape school.
The site was occupied two weeks ago and classes, taught by volunteer teachers, started soon after. Parents have claimed that the two primary schools in Dunoon are full and so can’t accommodate the children.
They protested during the visit by officials on Monday. Some parents said they were unhappy because the matter was taking too long to be resolved.
“I am not happy that the department is here because they didn’t come with a solution,” said parent Nokubonga Tukani.
She said her children, aged 6 and 14, had not attended school this year.
She previously told the Cape Argus that schools in the area had told her they were full and couldn’t accommodate them.
Jessica Shelver, spokeswoman for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said nine of the 75 children were registered or had previously registered with the Western Cape Education Department.
“Sixty-six are new to the WCED’s Central Education Management Information System (Cemis).
“It is not yet clear whether these learners are new arrivals from other provinces or whether their parents failed to enrol their children timeously.
“The WCED expects more learners to travel to the Western Cape in line with general population trends.”
She said the department would look into the reasons why the children had not been registered at Western Cape schools.
Resident Lungile Mdayi said the group did not want the children to be placed at any other schools.
“We want them to remain in this very spot. We don’t accept anything else. We want the classes to be here.”
Shelver said the department was negotiating with the City of Cape Town to continue using the land.
The site was previously used by Sophakama Primary School, but its pupils and teachers were moved to permanent structures several months ago, leaving the site vacant.
Dmitri Holtzman from the Equal Education Law Centre, said the children needed to get into school as soon as possible.
The centre has asked for remedial support for the children.
He said the long-term issue was that there were not enough places for children of compulsory school-going age in Dunoon.