Masiphumelele parents waiting for school places for their children

“I thought I was safe when I applied early”

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Photo of teacher in class
Thembisa Buzo teaches grade R pupils during the first day of school at Isiphiwo Primary School last week. Nearly 8,000 learners have still not found places in school in the Western Cape. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

More than a week later after the beginning of term, 7,900 pupils have not found places in schools in the Western Cape, according to Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer.

Noxolo Ntshuntshe and Samkelo Mjambo are among the parents who have not been able to place their children in school. They are both from Masiphumelele, which has only one primary school and one high school.

Ntshuntshe, a domestic worker, has to take her seven-year-old son Yamkela to work with her because he has no place in school. Yamkela should have been enrolled in grade one this year. She says she applied very early last year to three schools — Simon’s Town School, Sun Valley Primary School, and St James RC Primary — hoping her son would get into at least one of them.

But, she says, all the schools have told her she is on the waiting list.

“I thought I was safe when I applied early for my son but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I want him to get a better education than I had. But it doesn’t seem like it will happen,” says Ntshuntshe.

She says if Yamkela is not admitted this year he might have to repeat Grade R.

Mjambo, a security guard, moved his son from the Eastern Cape because the person that ten-year-old Ayakha was staying with is not in good health.

Ayakha is supposed to enter grade four this year.

“Now I do not know what to do, because he can’t go back home, and here there is a possibility that he might not get a school,” says Mjambo. “If he doesn’t get into school this year, he will be a year behind.”

“I do not like leaving my son at home when I go to work, when he should be at school.”

Mjambo applied only to Ukhanyo Primary School in Masiphumelele because he says he can’t afford the fee-paying schools.

Schafer said the WCED had deployed 119 mobile classrooms which can accommodate more than 4,000 learners in the last week.

She said once the the department had determined the areas, ages and grades of the learners who were waiting, the department would look for spaces in schools that still had accommodation, order new mobile classrooms and find new sites in which to place them.

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TOPICS:  Education

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I'm also still waiting for my son to be placed in school. I applied early last year hoping to secure a place for him in grade 4. I applied to Bellville, Bellville Primary, Boston Primary and Vredelust Primary. All the schools responded informing me that he will be placed on the waiting list.

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