WC Education Department still struggling to place 3 900 learners

After a prolonged legal battle, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Western Cape Education Department on Wednesday upholding the 2017 decision to shut down Uitzig Secondary School near Elsies River in the Cape.

Kieno Kammies speaks to Christine Williams of NPO MyDunoon and Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer about the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal regarding the intended closure of Uitzig High School in Ravensmead.

Read: Uitsig High School must be reopened - for now, High Court declares

Also Read: Uitzig High School to finally close down in 2018

The school has a history of repeated and ongoing severe vandalism, and despite the fact that we have made many efforts to secure the school and repair things, it has just got worse and worse.

Debbie Schafer, MEC - Western Cape Education Department

She insists it was dangerous for both children and teachers and the standard of education was poor due to the situation.

Alternatives of other schools in the area were offered to the learners with two schools within a kilometre of the school, says Schafer.

It did not justify spending R90 million building a new school for 90 learners.

Debbie Schafer, MEC - Western Cape Education Department

Schafer says the latest statistics show 3 900 grade 1-12 pupils remain unplaced.

Some schools are refusing to take more learners as they are full. In addition, she explains the challenges faced where communities stopped the department from erecting schools in certain areas such as Silversands.

There are a lot of issues at play here and we are simply doing the best we can.

Debbie Schafer, MEC - Western Cape Education Department

She says national government has cut the department's infrastructure budget.

I cannot make miracles happen if I have not got the funds.

Debbie Schafer, MEC - Western Cape Education Department

Christine Williams of NPO MyDunoon describes the response to a call for children who remain unplaced in schools.

Just after one day, about 50 kids came forward with various stories. It is both complicated and sad.

Christine Williams - MyDunoon

She says many come to the centre so they do not have to be home alone.

Schafer asked Williams to send her the names of children so she can investigate the situation.

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