Schools bursting at seams

2015-07-21 06:00

A reported shortage of schools in the Southern Peninsula has forced Kommetjie Primary School to turn potential pupils away.

The school’s governing body chairperson, Johan Kikillus, says it has had to “turn away a number of pupils due to lack of space”.

“Our school is already at full capacity. Several of these pupils live in Kommetjie and now have to find schooling elsewhere. If one looks at the bigger picture, we realise that this problem is not unique to Kommetjie but the entire valley,” he says.

Kikillus says there are currently over 6500 pupils attending the eight government primary schools in the valley.

“The two primary schools in Ocean View have on average 37 pupils per class and the primary school in Masiphumelele has on ave­rage 44 pupils per class. So it is safe to say that these three schools are overflowing. Such large classes do not result in a pleasant teaching environment and as a result, a large number of pupils fall behind.

“The four primary schools in Fish Hoek are a bit better with an average of between 23 and 31 pupils per class,” he says. The average for the area is 33 pupils per class.

“This leads to the next problem – the shortage of high schools. Fish Hoek High School currently has over 1000 pupils. There is simply no more space. Masiphumelele has 1204 pupils, which averages at 44 pupils per class, and Ocean View has 1212 pupils, which averages at 36 pupils per class,” he says.

The government is aware of the limited space at schools across the Peninsula, says Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for the provincial minister of education.

“The district director has already ordered additional mobile classrooms to alleviate some of the pressure for next year’s academic year and is currently exploring other options. One of the biggest challenges faced is acquiring suitable land to build a new school,” she says.

The area around Masiphumelele has seen an influx of pupils from other provinces, explains Shelver.

Kikillus echoes this, saying his “greatest concern is the fact that the population is growing faster than our schools are keeping up”. This is only compounded by poor town planning at council level, he says.

“Kommetjie has several hundred dwellings approved. Where exactly does government think the children from these dwellings are going to attend school?” he says.

Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, says six private and public sector residential developments were approved over the last year after the necessary due diligence and legislative processes.

“The City approves development applications in line with its spatial development framework and the southern district plan, both of which underwent public participatory processes,” he says.

The provision of amenities, such as schools and public facilities, is taken into consideration when formulating and reviewing district plans but would also be considered when assessing any land use application where additional rights are being sought, he says

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