Education Department Faces Court Action For Unplaced Learners

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The South African Schools Act states that every Member of the Executive Council must ensure that there are enough school places so that every child in the province can attend school.

 


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The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) are accused of not fulfilling this mandate in the province and were served with court papers from the The Equal Education Law Centre (EELC). 

The EELC explained the litigation against the WCED education department is concerning the seven unplaced learners in the Metro East District. They add that litigation was the final resort as all other channels were exhausted. 

EELC Executive Director, Tshegofatso Phala says every year thousands of learners remain unplaced in schools, with the Western Cape having a high frequency of this. 

She explains that the concern from the EELC is due to the fact that schools are currently in the second term. This means that learners would have missed out around three months of crucial time in the classroom. 

Phala added that parents continuously approach them and the litigation around the seven parents, have attempted to secure placement in schools since February. 

Many parents from as early as February have simply been told that schools are oversubscribed, particularly in the Khayelitsha area and that they should wait for next year in order for their children to be placed -  EELC Executive Director, Tshegofatso Phala

Phala believes that the issues around non-placement are two fold. One issue is related to the online application systems being inaccessible to parents. 

The second issue is related to what she calls bad administrative processes, with districts not recording the names of learners who are not placed in schools. This, she believes creates further problems as it does not allow the department to adequately plan for the demand of placement. 

"The group of seven parents we're dealing with, most of these parents don't have smartphones, are not employed and were not aware of the online system and so that's why a lot of them then go to schools physically in order to try and a school placement and then they find themselves without any placement", said Tshegofatso Phala.

The urgent application will be heard on 23 May 2022 and the EELC hopes it will achieve the immediate placement of the learners and ensure they are provided with appropriate catchup plans.

 

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