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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

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Unplaced pupil might spend another year at home

Athlone parents are frustrated as their teen’s application to study at Rylands High School was rejected again. File Picture

Athlone parents are frustrated as their teen’s application to study at Rylands High School was rejected again. File Picture

Published Aug 6, 2022


An Athlone teen is sitting at home after her school application was rejected last year. This might be the case again next year after her parents were unsuccessful in trying to secure a school for her.

The teen’s mother, Madineya Devine-Daniels, said it was a frustrating situation to be in.

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“We did everything right, she was invited for a test but they did not take her,” she said.

The 14-year-old from the Silvertown wants to attend Rylands High School where her sibling is a pupil. The school is in walking distance from her home.

“My husband recently started working and we cannot afford to take her anywhere else. I have asthma, I cannot walk her to the bus stop but here she can just walk to school alone or with other children,” she said.

She added that her daughter was also frustrated because she was missing out on school activities and learning.

“We have approached the department to ask for intervention but they suggested a school in Bonteheuwel. That is far and we are concerned about her safety in that area,” she said.

The teen’s father, Sadiek, said his daughter loves school and wants to go back.

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“She was excited when she went to write the test. I can see that she is suffering during the day and this makes me angry. Education is supposed to be accessible to all, but to her, it’s not the case,” he said.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the pupil was offered placement by the department but it was declined by the parents.

“The learner was offered placement at Windsor HS. In a follow-up with the parent, the parent declined this space and indicated that we could not make a decision for them (on) where to place their child. The parents wanted placement at Rylands HS – which was at that point already full. The onus was therefore on the parents to complete the process by visiting Windsor HS to enrol their child. They decided not (to) do so.”

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She added that he 2023 application process had been concluded.

“A parent has the right to appeal to the minister if they are not accepted at their school of choice. In terms of 2022, all learners who applied last year for this school year have been placed or offered placement at a school All learners that applied late this year by June 2022 have been placed or offered placement at a school.”

In June, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) was forced by the Western Cape High Court to place seven unplaced pupils into schools.

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The case was brought by Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) against the deputy director of the WCED and the Metro East district officials for failing to find schools for seven pupils from Khayelitsha and surrounding areas.

This week, the ANC in the Western Cape Legislature, supported by parents and education activists, accused education MEC David Maynier of attempting to evade accountability on issues of unplaced pupils and 2023 admission challenges.

Maynier was called to appear before the Standing Committee on Education, but two days before the expected meeting, he requested a postponement, claiming the matter was before the Western Cape High Court.

EELC sought relief that WCED state their plan on steps that will be taken to ensure that sufficient school places are available for pupils at public schools by the commencement of the 2023 academic year, and that a plan is developed to assist unplaced and late registration pupils for the 2023 academic year.

ANC Education MPL Khalid Sayed said they received legal advice that there is no basis for using the sub judice rule to block discussions on 2023 admissions.

He said the MEC was running away from accountability.

Parents for Equal Education SA (Peesa) founder, Vanessa le Roux said more schools are needed to tackle the issue of unplaced learners.

“Many areas have grown in population over the years while no new schools are being built. Instead, some schools keep on receiving mobile classrooms and in some cases schools don’t even have space for the mobile units,” she said.

Weekend Argus