We are fighting to place learners despite massive budget cut - News | Western Cape Education Department

We are fighting to place learners despite massive budget cut

11 January 2024

Statement by Minister David Maynier, Minister of Education Western Cape

We are doing everything we can to build new schools at a faster rate than ever before through our Rapid School Build programme, despite a massive R716.4 million blow to our education budget in the Western Cape.

Our officials and contractors have worked hard throughout the holiday period to ensure that we expand the number of places available for the learners we’ve already received applications for, and to prepare for the expected extremely late applications received since 1 January 2024.

Infrastructure update

We are building 10 new schools and 3 replacement schools for learners in the 2024 school year, and we are currently putting the finishing touches on our new junior high schools in Belhar, Fisherhaven, and Kwanokuthula, as part of our Rapid School Build programme which delivers high quality schools at an impressive rate.

Following over a year of being blocked from construction by criminal activity, we have laid the foundations at the Blueridge site, where we are building a new primary and high school for the community of Wallacedene.

Lwandle Primary School in Somerset West is also back on track following disruptions at the site. We are working hard to finish these delayed projects as soon as possible.

In addition, classroom expansions are in progress or completed at dozens of existing schools, some of whom have committed their own funding to expanding the number of places available in their schools.

Admissions update

Before schools closed on 12 December 2023, we announced that we had been able to allocate places for 99.43% of the learners for whom applications were received for Grade 1 and 8 for the 2024 school year.

However, since that date, and while schools have been closed for the holidays, we have received new applications for learners whose parents had not previously applied, and we anticipate receiving many more in the coming weeks.

We have already received 609 new, extremely late applications in the first 10 days of January 2024, and placement is currently in progress for 2 636 Grade 1 and 8 learners.

With schools closed, it has been difficult to finalise placement, and once schools open for teachers on Monday 15 January 2024, this process will resume.

The next key date in the admissions calendar is the 10th day SNAP survey, which is critically important for two reasons: it will indicate where there are still spaces available for learners needing a place, and it will allow us to more effectively allocate resources to accommodate the extremely late applications we are receiving, and will still receive.

Dealing with extremely late applications

The challenge with extremely late applications is that we do not know:

  • how many new applications we will receive;
  • where the extremely late placement will be required;
  • the grades, language, and ages of the learners; and
  • the specific subjects and specialised needs of the learners.

We ask for patience as we make progress in placing these extremely late applicants. We cannot predict where and when these late applicants will arrive, and this has made planning our resource allocation in advance extremely difficult.

We urge any parent who has not yet applied for the 2024 school year to do so immediately at their education district office.

District office details are available here: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/contact/districts

We will work to place every learner for whom an application is received going forward, but we want to be clear that schools are full in the Western Cape.

Media Enquiries:
Kerry Mauchline
Spokesperson to Minister David Maynier
Western Cape Ministry of Education