Tomorrow, around 970 000 learners will begin the 2013 school year. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is expecting around 100 000 learners to enter Grade 1 this year and approximately 80 000 in Grade 8.
The Western Cape Education Department is as close to ready as we can be. We do, however, expect to have late arrivals. This is not unusual and happens every year. The WCED assists these parents and learners and finds places for them as soon as possible.
Parents can phone the WCED Call Centre at 0861-9233-22 (0861 WCED-CC). Our agents will put parents in touch with the relevant officials. Some of these parents have legitimate reasons for late application, i.e. they have recently moved provinces or areas, or face various real challenges.
However, there is a small minority of parents that have simply left enrolment too late. This despite an extensive enrolment campaign rolled out by the WCED throughout last year.
It is the parents' responsibility to ensure that they enroll their children at schools early. Their 'in-action' in this regard could have implications - in that they will not get their children at their first schools of choice. At this stage, many of the schools are full.
The officials and school staff concerned have to go through clear procedures in attempting to find accommodation for prospective learners. We understand some parent's desperation to get their child into a school, this is understandable. But we ask that they exercise patience as we try to assist them.
What we can offer them is our assistance to place their child at a school. We expect that it could take at least a week to determine where the majority of late learners can be placed. One reason for this timeframe is that many learners apply to more than one school.
This then leaves enrollment gaps within the system which we can then fill. We can do this only once learners return and once we have confirmed that each 'absent' learner is in fact enrolled at another school.
Another reason is that some learners who are enrolled at a school also arrive late from other provinces. This could lead to perceived gaps in the system which cannot be filled until we clarify their admission status.
Given these reasons, and many others, this period can be disruptive in finalising enrolments at schools. We are, however, confident that we can accommodate everyone. We ask that parents work together with the WCED so that we can manage this process as efficiently as possible.
Our aim is to try to get all learners into schools as soon as we can to prevent any further disruption to their teaching and learning time.
Issued by: Western Cape Education