School of thought

2016-12-20 06:01

After a recent public meeting, Kommetjie parents are looking at the possibility of partnering with the provincial education department to build a high school in the area.

Community worker and Kommetjie parent Johan Kikillus says there is “serious overcrowding” in high schools in the Far South, with “Fish Hoek High School [reaching] the point where it turns away over 300 learners per year”.

“The mayor has just approved over 200 more houses for Kommetjie. There are also hundreds more houses being built in Dido Valley. The question remains: Where will all these learners go to high school?”

At the meeting it was established that there is government-owned land in Kommetjie zoned for education. The land belongs to the national public works department and would need to be transferred to the provincial department before a school could be established on it.

Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for provincial education minister Debbie Schafer, confirms there is a site available in Kommetjie.

Although there is “not a big need in Kommetjie” for a high school, based on primary school enrolments, says Shelver, there is a need for a school to cater for surrounding areas. Existing schools have high enrolments and learner-to-classroom ratios.

The solution appears to be for parents to form a partnership with the education department, Kikillus says, based on the same model as Fish Hoek High School, which would cater for Kommetjie and surrounding areas. He envisions the partnership consisting of parents raising funds for the construction, with the department covering operational and staffing costs.

Kikillus explains that the education department “has made it clear that they are unable to lay out any capital expenditure” in the Far South as they are “barely coping with the influx of 20 000 new learners from surrounding provinces”.

“We will then have to find money to build a school with the hope that we can get a 99-year lease on the Kommetjie ground. Department infrastructure will not have funding to assist with the development of a high school in Kommetjie, if the priorities and pressures of the surrounding area are taken into account. If a donor-funded school is built the department will assist with scrutinising the design and building plans, which will have to be approved by the public works department,” Shelver says.

The next step facing parents would be to carry out a survey to find out how many people would be interested in attending a high school in Kommetjie, Kikillus says.

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