Western Cape Education Department Update on Grade 1 and 8 learners placed
The Western Cape Education Department is ready for the 2023 school year, with 35 872 teachers and 7 578 public service staff returning to schools today to prepare for the arrival of over 1.2 million learners on Wednesday, 18 January 2023.
All top up textbooks ordered by schools were delivered by October 2022, at a cost of R62 million. In addition, stationery supplies to the value of R39 million, furniture to the value of R50 million, and other equipment to the value of R1.6 million were also delivered by December 2022.
We are currently implementing an unprecedented school infrastructure delivery programme, and the results are speaking for themselves.
We have already completed 561 classrooms for the first day of school as a result of work continuing through the traditional builders’ holiday, with the remaining classrooms underway to be completed in the coming weeks.
To put this into perspective, 212 additional classrooms were completed in time for the opening of 2022 school year.
We have made alternative arrangements to accommodate the learners while the final touches on additional classrooms are completed. This includes using alternative rooms within the schools temporarily, such as halls and computer labs, with the teachers that were allocated to the new class in advance of the school year. We are also looking at external venues where necessary, and in a small number of cases, schools will implement rotating timetables to ensure that learners can be accommodated.
We appeal to communities to support us in delivering the new schools and classrooms we will need, and I thank all the officials, government partners, contractors and school staff who are working tirelessly to get the job done. We would also like to thank the residents in the surrounding communities for their support during the construction period.
This has been a tremendous group effort and demonstrates just what we can achieve in our province and in our country when everyone is working toward the same goal of providing quality education for all of our children.
As of 14 January 2023, we have resolved 117 844, or 99.2%, of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 placement requests for the 2023 school year, and are in the process of placing 955, or 0.8%, of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for the 2023 school year.
This is an incredible achievement compared to recent years, with our officials and schools having placed 50 844 more Grade 1 and 8 learners than on this date last year. We are in the best possible position to kick off the school year given the high demand for placement.
Our officials and schools have done a phenomenal job under extreme pressure to make sure that they find a place for every child. We are leaving no stone unturned in our effort to place every learner, and we will continue to work to finalise placement for all remaining learners.
Education system under severe pressure
Despite this progress, the education system is still under severe admission pressure.
Over the past 7 years, on average, 21 000 learners from outside the Western Cape have been registered in our province for the first time each year.
Schools are full, and we are going to struggle to place additional learners for whom extremely late applications are received.
We have received 25 212 late applications for Grade 1 and 8 (after 15 April 2022) this year, including 272 extremely late applications received after schools closed on 15 December 2022. We expect to receive many more once schools reopen. It is very difficult to place learners at this extremely late stage, and parents arriving now must be prepared for a delay in the placement of their children.
It is for this reason that we continue to urge parents to apply on time for their children. We need to know who will need place and where, so that we can make plans in advance to accommodate them.
Any parents who have not yet applied for a place for their child must contact their Education District Office immediately. They must not queue up outside schools with the expectation of being accepted to their school of choice. Our schools are full, and while they may be able to assist with completing applications, the district office will assist with placement centrally.
District office details are available here: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/contact/districts
We understand that the placement process can cause frustration, but we are doing everything we can to find places for learners as quickly as possible. We ask that parents and organisations act responsibly when approaching our schools and district offices.
Spokesperson to Minister David Maynier
Western Cape Ministry of Education