The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has urged parents to approach their nearest school or district office in order to secure a last minute spot for their child for the upcoming academic year. The enrollment period for 2016 officially shut on the 30th December, but parents can still approach schools from Wednesday onward, when the 2016 academic year officially kicks off, in order to seek out a last minute placement.
The department launched an early enrollment campaign in February 2015 in order to motivate parents to take up the initiative and enroll their children at a school as early as possible. Despite the campaign, many parents failed to head the department’s call, leaving their children facing the prospect of missing out on a year’s worth of education.
“We do have a number of parents that simply didn’t take the responsibility of enrolling their children seriously and that is now going to have a detrimental effect on them,” said WCED spokesperson, Jessica Shelver.
Shelver stressed that while the WCED annually experience cases were parents were simply apathetic towards applying within the specified enrollment period, the department did have officials who were working tirelessly to ensure placement for last minute applicants.
She further noted that while statistically there were enough schools in the province to account for all students, many of the available places were situated in rural areas.
“People are moving to the Western Cape not to live in rural areas, they are moving to the Cape to live in cities across the province. Using Cape Town as an example, the metro simply cannot grow anymore, so people are moving towards the metro-north area.
“Schools in the metro are oversubscribed, they are full and we are trying to build new schools as fast as we can,” she noted.
Shelver explained that the department were seeking to merge schools in the rural areas in order to use the additional funds to build and develop new schools closer to the city, so as to increase accessibility to quality education.
The Western Cape sees about 25 000 learners arrive in the province from other parts of the country each year. That influx means that the province requires at least 20 new schools each year to meet the number of incoming students. This is without taking into account the growth in numbers within the Western Cape itself.
“last week when it was announced that the Western Cape achieved the top results in the NSC, I’m sure that many parents in other provinces are now going to want to send their children to school in the Western Cape in search of a better education,” Shelver added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)