23 January 2018

South Africa: More Than 11 000 Pupils Yet to Be Placed in Western Cape Schools

Photo: Daily News
(file photo).

About 11 200 pupils in the Western Cape are still searching for schools, according to the Western Cape department of education.

The problem can be attributed to the "constant relocation" of pupils from other provinces, the department's spokesperson Paddy Attwell said on Monday.

"Our district officials completed their planning in the third term of last year, but the constant stream of learners from other provinces to the Western Cape complicated things.

"About 130 000 learners from other provinces and 2 000 learners from other countries have relocated to the Western Cape and we're expecting more learners by the end of February," said Attwell.

The department has made arrangements for pupils who have not yet been placed in a school.

"We're currently installing 230 mobile classrooms in schools, but because we could only order last year due to budgetary requirements - this will only be completed by the end of February," explained Attwell.

Countrywide problem

DA spokesperson on basic education Nomsa Marchesi said Western Cape education MEC Debbie Schafer was working with the national Department of Basic Education to ensure that pupils are placed in schools.

The Western Cape is not the only province struggling with unregistered pupils.

"This is not just a Western Cape problem, it happens all over the country, especially in Gauteng. There is simply a lack of infrastructure and schools to accommodate all the learners," said Marchesi.

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi announced on January 7, 2017, that more than 30 000 pupils applying for grades one to eight had not been placed.

The department's spokesperson, Steve Mabona, was not immediately available to give an update on that figure.

KwaZulu-Natal's department of education is yet to determine how many pupils have not been placed in schools.

'Working around the clock'

"It is an ongoing process so we can't pre-empt the number of students who have not yet been placed," said spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa.

"Since KZN is the most improved province in terms of matric results, learners from other provinces are coming here because everyone wants to be on the winning team. We can only ask parents to be patient," Mthethwa told News24.

The Eastern Cape department of education is also uncertain about the number of pupils not yet placed in schools.

"It is unclear at this stage. We are currently placing Grade 1 and 2 learners as they come in so it is an ongoing process," said the department's district manager, Edgar Klaasen, said.

The Mpumalanga department of education has also struggled to place pupils, but has made plans to ensure all pupils are in class by Friday, according to spokesperson Jasper Zwane.

"We don't have exact figures, but there definitely is a waiting list. We have worked around the clock and have supplied some schools with mobile classrooms," said Zwane.


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