Cape Town - Western Cape Education Department (WCED) learner numbers are increasing by more than 20 000 annually, with some schools bursting at the seams.
The largest number of new or transfer applications received are for Grades 1 and 8.
WCED spokesperson Kerry Mauchline said there was a large number of in-migration annually, with about 18 000 learners joining Western Cape schools from the Eastern Cape alone each year.
“We do have some schools – particularly in the metro districts – that have large numbers of learners applying, and space must then be found to place those learners,” Mauchline said.
Tafelsig mother, Lamees Moosa, experienced placement challenges with each of her four children. Two of her children had to complete Grade 12 at Balco College, Mitchells Plain, as she was unable to secure admission to a public school.
“For 2023, my 13-year-old twin boys need to go to Grade 8, and I had placement issues for them as well. I have applied to eight schools,” she said. Moosa has since received feedback from two of the eight schools, with the fees of one too high for the single mother.
“How they do their placements, I have no idea because I’ve done the online application minutes after applications opened.”
Klapmuts community activist Chalmane Lucia Horne-Kruger said there were too few schools in some areas, which added to school drop-outs.
“For instance, here in Klapmuts we only have a primary school, and were waiting for some time until the local authorities confirmed a few months ago that a high school will be built.
“Meanwhile, our primary school is also too small and we already know that by the time the high school is finally complete and up and running, it will also be too small.”
Transport to and from schools remains an obstacle for those lucky enough to have found placement. Some have to travel long distances by foot.