WCED prepares for the upcoming 2017 academic year

Education MEC Debbie Schafer

Education MEC, Debbie Schäfer, said schools in the province were prepared for the new school year, with more than a million pupils expected when schools re-open today (Wednesday January 11).

“The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has been working hard to ensure that its schools are prepared, so as to ensure a smooth start to the academic year. I am advised that our schools and officials are as prepared as possible for the 2017 academic year.

Most of the preparations were completed well before the end of last year. Furniture and equipment, as well as textbook orders, were made well in advance so as to ensure early delivery at schools before the end of last year.”

Ms Schäfer added, though, that the WCED was expecting late enrolments of pupils and was gearing up for the challenges that come with it.

“Every year, the WCED receives a number of late enrolments. This is either because parents have relocated to the province during the festive season, or they have neglected their responsibility to enrol their children on time.

“In addition, owing to the annual increases in pupil numbers in the province, we do still have pupils who have not yet been placed. The WCED has officials who are working around the clock with schools and parents to place all pupils. The WCED introduced the new School Admission Management Information System in 2014. This system has helped us to provide clear data and ascertain which schools are full or still have space.

“While we will do our best, the fact that a child has been enrolled late has not afforded us the opportunity to plan in advance, as we have done for other pupils who enrolled early last year. The WCED has an obligation to help all parents with placement of their children. This however, does not mean that we guarantee a place in a school of choice, even if these schools are the closest to their new home.

“Planning for the school year is not an easy task. It requires a great deal of work and involves various structures within the department, including head office, the districts, principals, educators and school management teams.

“Parents who are having difficulties enrolling their child, or who have not yet enrolled their child, are advised to approach their nearest school, as there could be some enrolment cancellations after the school holidays. Alternatively, they may approach the local district office for assistance with finding a place at a school.

“Each district office has identified officials who will assist parents who struggle to find a place. For assistance with placement at schools in the WCED Metro Central district (schools in this district are within the Athlone News distribution area), contact Schalk Hattingh at 021 514 6700 or 021 514 6721, or email; Schalk.Hattingh@westerncape.gov.za Lance Abrahams, at the WCED head office, can be contacted at 021 467 2000 or email; lance.abrahams@westerncape.gov.za

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