Sophakama Demonstration | Western Cape Government



Sophakama Demonstration

15 March 2005
Learners, staff and governing body members from Sophakama Primary School, Du Noon, agreed to meet with senior officials from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) tomorrow evening, after a demonstration outside the head office in Cape Town today (Wednesday, 16 March 2005).

The community is demanding a new school to replace their current school, which they say is overcrowded. The WCED has been discussing the issue of overcrowding for some time with the school community.

The school has 1,464 learners. While the school claims that is has 60 learners in a class, the WCED has estimated that Sophakama has 48 to 49 learners on average per class, and that five new classrooms would bring this average down to acceptable levels.

The Department of Transport and Public Works has indicated that contractors could complete these classrooms by mid-year.

The WCED also plans to start a new primary school in Du Noon, using mobile classrooms currently occupied by learners from Inkwenkwezi Secondary School. This will help to ensure adequate accommodation for primary school learners in both Sophakama and the new primary school.

The province is currently building a new school for Inkwenkwezi. The mobile classrooms currently occupied by Inkwenkwezi will become available for the new primary school when the high school learners move to the new school.

Until such time as the new classrooms are completed at Sophakama, the school could operate on a shift basis to ease overcrowding in the short term.

Sophakama's governing body has rejected all the options suggested by the WCED, and has insisted that the province build a new school for Sophakama as well.

We condemn the fact that the school has taken learners and staff out of school during classroom hours to hold this demonstration.

The demonstration is also unnecessary, given the fact that that the WCED is already giving school accommodation in Du Noon schools its careful attention, and has made well-considered proposals that should be discussed calmly.

The WCED will continue to discuss options with the school community.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi
082 550 3938

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