Western Cape education department to establish 'intervention facilities' for expelled students

2017-07-04 17:29
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Cape Town – Specialised facilities will be established in the Western Cape to accommodate students expelled from public schools, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said on Tuesday.

"It is senseless to me that we have to expel learners in some cases, but they still have to receive education," Schäfer said in a statement. 

"What happens in practice is that expelled learners are accommodated in another school.  This simply transfers the problem from one school to another."

Students can be referred to these planned facilities by school governing bodies as an alternative to expulsion in disciplinary processes, Schäfer said. 

At these facilities, students will be able to receive therapy and intervention strategies specific to their situation, while still receiving an education. 

The referral is subject to parental consent. 

The introduction of "intervention facilities" forms part of the Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Bill which was adopted by the provincial cabinet on Tuesday. 

The department hopes to have a pilot project operational by the end 2017, Schäfer said. 

Departmental spokesperson Jessica Shelver told News24 that the department cannot currently expand on the practical roll-out of the facilities as a legal framework still needs to be formulated. 

Evaluation reports

She said it was envisioned that students will be admitted to the facility for a variable duration which does not exceed 12 months.

Each student will be dealt with on a case by case basis, Shelver said.

Schäfer said the amended bill also allows for the establishment of an evaluation authority which will be known as the Western Cape Schools Evaluation Authority.

"The [authority] will independently evaluate schools and develop school evaluation reports which will trigger departmental support and developmental actions," she said.

She said the authority will be financed by private funding and believes it will be fully operational by the 2018/19 financial year.

"We have piloted this model in 42 schools already and have received very positive feedback."

The amended bill also forces all provincial public schools to make a request, in writing, to the head of the provincial education department if it wishes to sell or allow for the consumption of alcohol on school property.

Schäfer said the draft amended bill will be published in the provincial gazette.

From there, provincial parliament will consider comments and consult external stakeholders, before the bill is reworked, if necessary, and voted in as provincial legislation. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  education

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