The Mitchell’s Plain Education Forum is bracing itself for requests to help place pupils at schools.
This comes after the forum wrote a letter to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to help place thousands of pupils at the 54 primary schools in the area on July 31 last year (“No place for pupils at schools”, Plainsman August 15 2018) but have had no response.
Colleen Horswell, forum chairperson, said: “We do not have enough schools”.
She said vacant buildings in the area could be converted into classrooms. “Year after year, we have pupils wandering the streets and joining gangs because there is no place at schools,” she said.
Ms Horswell said the letter was also sent to Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor, who was deployed by the ANC to its Mitchell’s Plain Constituency Office.
Bronagh Hammond, spokesperson for the WCED, said a number of pupils had been placed at schools in the Metro South Education District (MSED) at the end of last year.
“Once schools have complete their 10-day snap survey, we will be in a position to provide the media with updated stats,” she said.
Ms Hammond confirmed that while pupil accommodation was under pressure at Mitchell’s Plain schools, Grade 8 pupils in particular, the district was confident that they will be assisted.
“There are greater pressures in other areas, particularly in Metro East, as we try to accommodate growth in areas such as the Strand and in Metro North in Mfuleni,” she said.
According to planned enrolment there are 69 102 pupils in Grade R, 83 360 in Grade 8 and 55 418 in Grade 12, with a total of a 1 170 837 pupils in the province.
Ms Hammond said MSED would be using the Khanya Centre stie, the old Buckingham Primary School in Portland, to accommodate high school pupils.
Eight additional mobile classrooms will be set up at Perseverance Primary School, in Tafelsig.
Parents who have not yet found placement at schools can contact the district office for assistance.
They can also contact schools directly where they had applied if they were on the waiting list to confirm if any places have since become available.
The WCED expects a number of places will open after the tenth day of school, as those pupils who do not arrive (with a valid explanation) will be taken off the school system.
There are many parents who “double-booked” places at schools, which would make some places available.
The district has created a unit to assist parents in Mitchell’s Plain with the placement of pupils. For more information, call the Metro South Education District office on 021 370 2000.