2019 Admissions Update and learner growth in the Western Cape
Earlier this year the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) introduced a new online function to assist parents with tracking applications for admission to public schools.
This was done to relieve some of the pressure owing to large volumes of queries relating to applications for admission.
The new function allows a parent or guardian to check via the WCED's website if an application submitted to the school has been captured on the School Admissions Management Information (SAMI) system.
Admissions for the 2019 academic year closed on the Friday 23rd March 2018. On the 29th March, the WCED extracted data from the system and we can confirm the following:
- A total of 67 718 Grade 1 - 12 applications have been received
- A total of 27 489 Grade R applications have been received.
- 50 646 Unique applications (Single Count) have been captured.
- 16 886 applications have already been accepted at schools thus far. This excludes Grade R and specialised support classes.
- The public has successfully been using the admissions tracking function on the WCED website and it is working very well.
Parents can access the new function via the WCED website as follows:
- go to: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/ and click on "School Enrolment FAQs".
- click on "How can I check the status of my child's admission application?". Enter the learner's ID or CEMIS number, and click "submit". (https://wcedemis.westerncape.gov.za/wced/samiconf.html)
In terms of admissions, this year it was again clear that one of the main hindrances to placing children in schools on time was late enrolment.
In line with annual trends we saw an additional 25 000 learners enter the province at the start of the 2018 academic year.
The WCED has remarkably managed to place all the learners that arrived at the beginning of the year.
Learners however continue to move to the Western Cape. At the beginning of April 2018, we received an additional new 3 000 learners who we also have had to place at short notice.
To try and keep up with growth in the province, this year we will see the completion of 7 new schools and 3 replacements schools. This will assist with the growth in numbers but it is simply not enough.
More than 130 000 learners have relocated to the Western Cape from other provinces and countries over the past five years - mainly from the Eastern Cape - at an additional cost to the system of around R1.1 billion.
This year alone, the WCED had to find over R350 million to cater for new arrivals. This does not include infrastructure.
This growth affects everyone, because we have to stretch existing resources thinly over the whole system. The strain this places on our schools is immense and the sad reality is that we do not receive the relevant per learner funding that we should receive to accommodate and equip the increased number of learners within the system.
The funding that we receive for the in-migration of learners is based on out-dated information. The information used to calculate our equitable share is the previous year's SNAP survey, as well as information from the General Household survey. This benefits province's with negative population growth rates, but comes at the expense of provinces with in-migration. So in the Western Cape our funding continues to play catch-up to the number of learners entering our system.
There are huge needs in infrastructure to accommodate the growth in learner numbers. But without concomitant funding from the National Treasury - and a cut to the infrastructure grant - there is a very real possibility that Infrastructure Development projects may need to be delayed.
I am hopeful that the majority of parents have heeded our calls to enrol their children on time so that we can plan ahead as far as possible. If a parent has not enrolled their child for the 2019 academic year, they need to do so immediately.
Parents who have not enrolled their child for the 2019 academic year should contact the relevant District Office. There is a list on the WCED website of official in charge of admissions at each district -https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/documents/enrolment/index.html
Parents may also contact the WCED Call Centre: 0861 923 322, if they are unsure of which district to approach.
Parents are encouraged to visit the section on the Website called "Frequently Asked Questions - Learner Enrolments" for more information. (https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/documents/enrolment/index.html)