By Ragheema Mclean
With just one day to go before the first school bell rings for the 2024 school year, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) says it’s all systems go as they prepare to welcome learners back to school.
The department expressed:
“We are looking forward to welcoming our learners back for the 2024 school year – it is all systems go!”
School teachers returned to work on Monday, while learners will start school on Wednesday.
Speaking on VOC Breakfast on Tuesday, WCED MEC David Maynier said it is a big week for education, as matric results will also be released on Friday.
“It’s not just the opening of schools; we will also be celebrating with our matric class of 2023 on Friday when results are released.”
Furthermore, Maynier said results will be issued to learners across the province at 11 a.m. on Friday morning.
2024 School Placements
The minister said that the department had placed around 120,000 Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners by the end of 2023. “This is about 99% of the applicants. We’ve made extremely good progress, but there are still a few challenges that need to be addressed.”
Maynier said that there are around 2636 learners unplaced for this year.
“We expect that many of those placements will be finalised by the end of today, some of the learners were already placed yesterday as well,’ he noted.
He added, “We will then also conduct a 10-day snap after the first 10 days of school to see which schools have places available and allocate placement to learners at those schools.”
WC School Infrastructure Update
Regarding school infrastructure, Maynier said his department has been doing everything it can to build new schools through its Rapid School Build programme.
“With this financial year being a very challenging one with the national department absorbing a R700 million budget cut and also experiencing significant budget uncertainty for at least six months of the year,”
“We have pulled out all the stops; I think we have risen to the challenge; we’ve rolled out our Rapid School Build program, putting up about 10 new schools; R49 million worth of textbooks were delivered by October 2023; R17.5 million worth of furniture; and R24 million worth of stationery was also delivered by December 2023.”
Furthermore, Maynier said that despite budget cuts, the department is steadfast about keeping its nutrition programme running.
“We have been adamant that when it comes to our nutrition programme, where we feed up to 500,000 learners a day in our province. We have protected it and will continue in the 2024 school year.”