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Media Release

6 March, 2007

Enrolment challenges

Statement by Cameron Dugmore, MEC for Education in the Western Cape

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) receives queries from parents from time to time about schools who do not want to accept learners for various reasons, including finance, disciplinary issues and late applications.

MEC Cameron Dugmore provided details in the issue during an interpellation in the Provincial Legislature today. Full details appear below:

Question 6. Ms J Witbooi to ask Mr. C M Dugmore, Minister of Education:

(a) Whether he has received any queries of school governing bodies or individual parents in the Western Cape Province from principals who do not want to accept learners to their schools; if so, what were the reasons forwarded in this regard and (b) how does the department intend dealing with issues like these?


The Minister of Education:

6. (a) The WCED does receive queries, mostly from parents, from time to time about schools who do not want to accept learners to their schools.

The reasons generally forwarded are:

- the inability of parents to pay outstanding school fees;

- that schools refuse their children admission even though such a school is the nearest to their homes;

- that the refusal to enroll their children is because the school is full; and

- that the child seeking admission has a record of ill-discipline at their present or previous school

(b) With regard to the reasons cited above, the WCED generally deals with it as follows:

1. School principals are informed that by law the inability of parents to pay outstanding school fees is no reason to refuse a child admission to a school

2. Often parents neglect to enroll their children timeously at a school, or first apply elsewhere at a school of their choice. If then not successful they cite the "nearest to their home" reason. In such cases district office officials will mediate with schools on their behalf, or indicate alternative schools where accommodation is available

3. The same reasons and mediation as indicated in (b)2 above is applied by departmental officials

4. District officials mediate on the behalf of parents pointing out that expulsion on the grounds of serious misconduct is the only reason why a child is precluded from attending a school, and that in all cases where a child is subject to compulsory education the WCED is compelled to find alternative accommodation at another school for such a child;

5. A parent also has the right to appeal to me should he/she feels that the refusal to admit his/her child was unfair [section 5(9) of the SA Schools Act, Act 84/1996]. This appeal is dealt with by my office according to a certain process, taking into account a range of issues e.g. time of application, locality of parent vs. school, capacity of school, class sizes and the Admission Policy of such a school.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.

Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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