Minister Schäfer visits Perivale PS to celebrate start of 2022 school year
This morning I visited Perivale Primary School to welcome learners to class for the first term.
Learners were generally excited to be back in class, but Principal Zaahier Jacobs and his staff were on hand to dry any tears from the youngest learners who were nervous about heading to ‘big school’ for the first time. Adding to the excitement is the new replacement school that Perivale PS will move into this year.
Approximately 1.1 million learners start the 2022 school year in the Western Cape this week, including approximately 105 000 Grade 1s and 97 000 Grade 8s. Unfortunately, most learners will continue to attend school on a rotational basis, costing our learners further precious time in class despite recommendations from experts that schools return to full attendance. I will continue to engage with the national government regarding a return to daily attendance for all learners as soon as possible.
The Department is making over 18 000 extra places for learners available throughout this year, by approving additional teaching posts, adding extra classrooms, refurbishing existing classrooms, and constructing schools. We anticipate that two new mobile schools (in Bothasig and Fisantekraal) will be completed by the end of the first term. Four additional schools are under construction and will be completed during the course of this year in Nomzamo, Klapmuts (a primary and a high school), and Silversands.
We have unfortunately already started receiving reports about buildings damaged by theft and vandalism over the school holidays. I urge schools to report any such incidents to Safe Schools as soon as possible.
The WCED has made great progress in placing learners that applied for the 2022 school year in 2021. Despite over 32 000 late applications, the latest figures indicate that we have 442 Grade 1 and 2 419 Grade 8 learners that have yet to be placed. The districts are working hard to ensure their placement as soon as possible.
I appeal to parents to keep their phones handy so as not to miss a call from our officials. Parents who have not yet applied, are doing so very late. They must please contact or visit the WCED district offices in the area in which they reside so that they can be added to the placement list. The Department is in a much better position than last year, and will continue to work hard to place all learners as soon as possible, despite new applications coming in daily.
I wish our learners and school staff the very best for the year ahead. The pandemic is far from over, and while our schools have shown much resilience during this pandemic, the learning losses, together with ongoing rotation, is a heavy burden to carry. It is thus fitting that the WCED’s theme for 2022 is “The year of learning: Leadership driving resilience”, and the Department will be focused on driving resilience and well-being with the necessary support structures in place this year.
There are tough times ahead, but I am comforted by the self-evident dedication and passion of our officials and school staff.
Spokesperson to Minister Debbie Schäfer
Western Cape Ministry of Education