24 January 2024
Media alert: Equal Education demands the immediate admission of all unplaced learners in Gauteng and Western Cape schools
Today, Equal Education (EE) members in Gauteng and the Western Cape will picket at the Benoni and Metro East education department district offices respectively, against the ineffective and frustrating school admissions processes keeping thousands of learners out of school.
It has been a week since the 2024 school year began, and thousands of learners are yet to be placed. Every year, the public is overwhelmed with excuses from the provincial education departments explaining why thousands of learners remain unplaced by the time the school year begins. Provincial education departments, particularly in the Western Cape and Gauteng, repeatedly state that schools are overcrowded or oversubscribed because they do not have the funds to build more schools. They also continue to blame parents for applying late or for only applying to schools that are in high demand.
However, since the beginning of the 2024 school year, EE parent members have visited several schools and districts in both provinces to observe school readiness for 2024 and to monitor the progress of learner admission to schools. At each of these visits, parents seeking placement for their children have approached EE with grievances about the admissions process, expressing frustration with the inefficient and unclear application and appeals processes, the unresponsive and/or slow assistance at district offices, schools illegally withholding report cards due to non-payment of fees or voluntary contributions, and the lengthy distances that some learners will have to travel to the schools that they were allocated.
It has increasingly become clear that education departments do not have plans to ensure all prospective learners are rapidly allocated schools. This is particularly concerning in urban areas experiencing rising population growth. Due to the failures of the admissions process, this issue will only worsen as more learners migrate to those areas. Without proactive planning, education departments will continue to fail parents and learners. No learner should be left behind! EE is therefore demanding that:
- All unplaced learners be placed in a school immediately;
- Provincial education departments equip all schools with sufficient and appropriate infrastructure as required by the Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure;
- Provincial education departments develop forward-looking infrastructure development plans to address current and future overcrowding in schools;
- The Department of Basic Education develops binding school capacity norms to ensure more equitable distributions of learners in schools; and
- National and provincial treasuries allocate enough funds to school infrastructure and provide the necessary oversight to ensure the funds are appropriately spent.
When: Wednesday 24 January 2024
Where: Department of Education Benoni District Office, 70 Howard Ave, Benoni, 1501
Time: 11:00 am
When: Wednesday 24 January 2024
Where: Metro East Education District Office, Belhar and New Nooiensfontein Drive, Kuils River, 7580
When: 9:00 am
To arrange a media interview, contact:
Sesethu August (Equal Education Communications Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org
WhatsApp: 083 890 8723
Call: 063 221 7983