SAHRC welcomes placement of pupils in schools in the Western Cape

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A classroom.
A classroom.
Kayleen Morgan
  • The SAHRC has welcomed substantial progress made by the Western Cape education department in placing pupils in schools.
  • The intervention follows a complaint laid by ANC chief whip Muhammad Khalid regarding the huge number of unplaced pupils.
  • The department said it could not physically force the pupils into a school.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has welcomed the progress made by the Western Cape education department in placing pupils in schools.

The SAHRC's intervention follows a complaint laid by ANC MPL and chief whip Muhammad Khalid regarding the huge number of unplaced pupils in the province.

According to the department's calendar, pupils started their academic year on 15 February.

However, some are still attending illegal schools that are not registered with the department due to non-placements.

READ | Cape Town parents, pupils block road in protest over school placements

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said there were 13 000 unplaced pupils at the beginning of the year.

"So, to have found places for all of these learners is an achievement, which has rightfully been commended by the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the SAHRC," she added.

SAHRC spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said it had received a detailed report from the department outlining efforts it had taken, and would continue to take, to address the issue of unplaced pupils.

"The commission commends and welcomes substantial progress made by the department following the commission's intervention, including a meeting with the MEC for education, Debbie Schäfer MPL, to solve the untenable situation where thousands of learners were deprived of their constitutional right to basic education."

Brooks added the SAHRC regretted that at this late stage, there were still a significant number of pupils who have missed a whole quarter of schooling and were yet to be placed.

The department has procured 129 mobile classrooms and created more than 170 teaching posts.

Schafer said:

In the interim, the department is accommodating learners in alternative spaces, such as school halls, until mobile classrooms are constructed, and is updating its [projection] intake data.

The department said it had issued placement letters to the parents of pupils who were still being taught at illegal schools.

"As the department, it has fulfilled its role, and has done everything to try and assist these learners time and time again.

"We cannot physically force the learners into a school, we require their parents to take them," Schafer added.

The SAHRC said it would continue to closely monitor funding and budgetary implications at both national and provincial levels.

It added it would continue to monitor and seek to enhance the accuracy of the provincial equitable share with respect to infrastructure and provisioning of posts.

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