Cape Town - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has been criticised for its lack of plans to address learner enrolment.
This after the department briefed the standing committee on education in the legislature on Tuesday on, among others, the number of unplaced learners for the 2022 academic year, status of school readiness for the 2022 academic year, the 2021 National Senior Certificate results and the pass rate for the Western Cape.
During his presentation, WCED deputy director-general Archie Lewis said the department was doing all it could to place learners. He said by last week, they had about 4 675 unplaced learners.
Lewis said hot spot areas for unplaced learners include Mitchells Plain, Eerste River, Mfuleni, Nomzamo/ Strand, Delft, Dunoon/Milnerton, Vredenburg, Hermanus and Grabouw.
He said the in-time applications were steadily dropping, and that the late applications were increasing.
“The reason is that applications were made at schools in December 2021, but the applications have only been placed on school admissions management information this year, and that new applications will continue to increase.”
Committee chairperson Lorraine Botha commended all efforts made by the WCED in working around the clock to have all learners placed.
Botha said since July 2021, the department had placed more than 29 000 learners due to the establishment of admission teams in each district who have worked tirelessly to give each child the best opportunity possible.
She said, however, they knew that the number of unplaced learners would grow as new and late applications continued to arrive daily.
ANC provincial spokesperson for education, Khalid Sayed, said it was a concern that as of January 20, 4 675 learners had not been placed in schools. That included 439 Grade 1 learners and 2 302 Grade 8s.
“Quizzed about time lines for when all learners would be placed in class, the WCED said it needs outcomes of the snap survey after 10 school days to get a full picture of the situation in schools and hoped that more spaces could … open,” Sayed said.
He said if that does not materialise, they would then consider platooning as an option. Sayed said that was far too time-consuming.
He said the WCED, working with the Department of Transport and Public Works, failed to meet its own targets for the implementation of additional mobile classrooms at schools, which would lessen the problem.
“Only 34 units were completed on January 17 from a total of 173 targeted units.”