D-Day ar­rives for first day at ‘big school’

Cape Times - - FRONT PAGE - OKUHLE HLATI [email protected]

EX­CITE­MENT and tears will be the or­der of the day to­day as thou­sands of Western Cape chil­dren be­gin their school­ing.

The pro­vin­cial depart­ment said about 107 000 pupils have en­rolled for Grade 1 this year, com­pared to 104 336 in 2019. Grade 8 will wel­come 93 206 pupils, while last year there were 85 771.

Schools in ar­eas like Mfu­leni, Delft and the Helder­berg are once again in high de­mand as pop­u­la­tion growth there has spiked.

In 2019 over a 1 000 Mfu­leni chil­dren had to wait for more than four weeks be­fore be­ing en­rolled as there was no place for them.

They had to cram into halls, old clinic build­ings and churches be­cause all schools in the area were filled to ca­pac­ity.

Western Cape Educ­tion Depart­ment (WCED) spokesper­son Bron­agh Ham­mond said the pupil pop­u­la­tion in the prov­ince con­tin­ued to grow dra­mat­i­cally.

“The great­est de­mand in terms of the dis­tricts would def­i­nitely be in Metro East. We have also re­ceived many late ap­pli­ca­tions over the last two days from all over the prov­ince. Ev­ery year we have pupils who go un­placed at the start of the school year due to late en­rol­ment or demands for spe­cific schools or ar­eas.

“Par­ents may have to wait weeks to find places in schools in the Western Cape, if they do not al­ready have places,” said Ham­mond.

She said if by the 10th day a pupil failed to ar­rive at school, the school could take them off their en­rol­ment list.

“This opens up places across the prov­ince. Some pupils de­cide to en­rol in other prov­inces, while oth­ers have sim­ply been en­rolled at more than one school and (par­ents) have failed to no­tify the rel­e­vant schools that they will not be ad­mit­ting their child into a par­tic­u­lar school,” she said.

Ham­mond said the depart­ment planned thor­oughly for growth, sub­ject to the avail­able bud­get.

“The district of­fices are as­sist­ing par­ents to find al­ter­na­tive op­tions as schools re­open, but this does take time and par­ents must stay in touch with our district of­fices.

“Ad­di­tional staff have been placed at our district of­fices and walk-in cen­tres have been cre­ated,” she said.

African News Agency (ANA)

PROUDLY wear­ing their new, mostly over­sized uni­forms, Grade 1s at Turfhall Pri­mary School got to meet their new friends dur­ing ori­en­ta­tion yes­ter­day morn­ing. To­day, mil­lions of chil­dren across the coun­try go back to school. | TRACEY ADAMS

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