Cape Town 120221. Oaklands High principal, Reza Patel, discusses the newly built school with MEC of Education, Donald Grant. The old school building is still pretty much in tact adjacent to the new school. Reporter: Ilse Fredericks.Pic : Jason Boud

Cape Town - More than R2 billion will be spent on building 22 schools and replacing prefabricated ones in the Western Cape over the next three financial years.

Education MEC Donald Grant said there would be two special needs schools, 10 primary schools and 10 secondary schools.

In addition, the old buildings of 40 other schools would be replaced with brick and mortar buildings.

Last week, Premier Helen Zille launched the Western Cape’s capital infrastructure delivery website, which provides a description of the different infrastructure projects, the government departments and where in the province they are located.

Grant said the schools and areas selected were based on data from the department’s geographic information system.

The schools were set to be built in all eight education districts: four would be located in the Cape Winelands, six in the Overberg, eight in Eden and Karoo, four on the West Coast, 10 in metro central, 13 in metro north, nine in metro east and eight in metro south.

Grant’s spokeswoman, Bronagh Casey, said there were plans for a new primary school in Mitchells Plain and the department was investigating land options for the school site.

“Should we secure land this year, then it is likely that building will commence within the three-year period,” she said.

Casey said the success of the previous three-year plan proved that this new and replacement plan would be realistic.

“We believe it is achievable and manageable. The success of our previous three-year plan can attest to that. However, any construction project of this nature is dependent on a number of factors such as weather, or even community unrest.”

Despite the department’s plan to close some schools last year, Casey claimed that the new and replacement school plans had nothing to do with it.

“There is no correlation between the two,” she said.

She said most of schools that had been listed for closure were small rural schools that had a dwindling number of pupils and the new and replacement schools project focused on areas with an increasing number of pupils instead.

“The aim of school closures was to provide better opportunities for these learners, for example, by improving access to single-grade classes and better facilities.”

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Cape Argus