No place for kids in school

One of the children who has not been placed in school. Picture: Xola Qetsemani

About 50 Dunoon children have spent the first term of the school year at home after not getting placement in schools.

The children’s ages range from 7 to 14. Their parents say all their efforts to get their children into school have come up empty.

The Boost Africa Foundation and the myDunoon non-profit organisation have been running activities for the children over the past two weeks.

According to myDunoon founder, Christine Williams, many Dunoon children have been denied the right to education, despite the South African constitution stating that everyone has the right to a basic education.

“After putting the post on Facebook, the responses have been encouraging. We spoke on the radio to (Education MEC) Debbie Schafer, and we have since emailed the list through to her directly,” said Ms Williams.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokeswoman, Jessica Shelver, said that they were aware of the situation.

“The MEC requested that the caller from the NGO send us the list of names,” she said, adding that she had since received the list and had asked the district office to intervene.

The children’s parents said they hoped the department could finally find schools willing to take them.

“Right now, we have no other alternative, and all my boy can do is go to the Boost Africa centre to stay busy. I’m so worried about him now because his peers will leave him behind,” she said.

Nine-year-old Asisipho Mehlo also doesn’t have a school to go to after he was put on the waiting list at Silverleaf Primary after finding out that Sophakama Primary was full at the end of last year.

His mother, Mihle, was told at the beginning of the year that there wasn’t space for him, and she should contact the WCED for assistance.

“The first term has come and gone, and my child is still sitting at home with no school. I really hope the department can help us by possibly increasing the number of pupils in the school so that the children who don’t have placement can get in,” she said.

Ms Shelver said the department would need know to whether the parents had applied for admission at a school, the pupils’ level of education, and the grade they should be in.

“Our officials will work around the clock to ensure that the learners are assessed and placed as quickly as possible, bearing in mind, that schools in the Metro North area have reached full capacity at the start of the school year already,” she said.

Ms Williams said she had emailed President Cyril Ramaphosa, telling him about the situation and asking for assistance.

On the myDunoon Facebook page, there are pictures of some of the 50 children with handwritten letters most of them titled, “Dear Mr President”.