As the 2020 academic year officially kicks off on Wednesday, the unfortunate circumstance of parents frantically trying to ensure the placement of their children remains a stark reality.
Minister of Education Angie Motsheka’s announcement of a 81.3% pass rate for the 2019 matric class last week; was meant to be a celebratory occasion for South Africans. But instead, it revealed the several issued facing our education system. Among the concerns experts are drawing attention to include learner to teacher ratio, literacy levels and insufficient security and infrastructure. Leaner placement also high on the agenda of items to tackle.
According to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED)’s spokesperson Bronagh Hammond 108 schools are needed to accommodate the influx of learner enrollment , which she said has increased by 114 000 since 2011.
“Yesterday (Monday) we had an influx of parents who hadn’t made any effort last year to apply for schools. We are trying to assist those learners as well as those who are coming from different provinces or parents who have transferred,” said Hammond.
Hammond advised that parents whose children have not yet been placed, should “make the effort” to visit their nearest district office.
“We’ve placed additional officials at each of our education districts, creating more consensus for parents to go to the district offices. I believe that is the best option- for you to approach the district office where you live; they will put you on a waiting list or advise you right then and there of a school that’s available in your area,” advised Hammond.
Hammond noted that the WCED’s budget doesn’t allow the department to adequately tackle their challenges
“We cannot keep up with that (influx), especially in terms of infrastructure building- we do not have the budget to build schools. Schools cost 60, 70, up to 80 million rand per school. It’s a very big challenge we face,” said Hammond.
Hammond also noted that budget cuts is preventing the department from employing more teachers. The spokesperson pointed out that learner placement also remains a concern. Parents who wait on the last minute also hampers planning relating to the resources allocated to each school.
“We are doing our utmost to try to accommodate all learners in the province. Our challenge is when we have parents who only decide to approach the department now,” said Hammond.
Visit the WCED website under the “enrollments” tab to find contact details of the district office nearest to you.