17 January 2019

South Africa: No Space for More Than 600 Children At Khayelitsha School

More than 600 children are still waiting for a place at Khayelitsha's Enkanini Primary School, which is already bursting at the seams with the sheer number of children who want to attend it.

In fact, demand for a place is so high that a large group of parents and unplaced children picketed outside the school on Thursday morning.

The rapidly expanding informal settlement near the school stretches almost as far as the road to the N2 highway. News24 reported last year on a new wave of residents moving in from backyards, or out of their parental homes.

The children at Thursday's picket were dressed in their grey shorts and white shirts - ready to start the long haul to matric.

"There is no school today," said chairperson of the school governing body (SGB), Andile Lili.

Wearing a jacket and buttoned-up shirt, the man infamously known for "poo flinging" episodes in the Western Cape, who is now a ward councillor, said residents had protested for a school since 2013.

In April 2018, pre-fabricated classrooms finally arrived and teaching began for 560 pupils.

However, demand soared because thousands of residents live there now - some in shacks precariously perched on top of the dunes.

The principal and governing body will focus on putting emergency measures in place with extra desks.

This will be taken to the education department in the hope of getting more help.

"But we can't keep children at home forever," said Lili.

In his hand was a list of 673 children - from Grade R to Grade 7 - who have been waiting for a place.

A room originally meant to have been the staff room, will be divided in two for the Grade Rs so that there are 33 children on one side of the room and 33 on the other.

A storeroom meant for tins of pilchards and bags of rice, will now double as the staff room.

Comment was not immediately available from the Western Cape education department.

Education MEC Debbie Schafer said at the beginning of the school year that more than 1.2 million pupils started school in the Western Cape, many for the first time.

This year, primary schools across the province have welcomed 108 325 Grade 1s and 83 360 Grade 8s.

A final head count is expected within the next few days and extra teachers who are being kept in reserve will be sent to schools where they are needed.

Source: News24

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