Angry parents in Bloekombos in Kraaifontein shut down two overcrowded schools on Monday, saying they want the government to build more schools in the densely populated area.
Parents headed to Bloekombos and Masibambane secondary schools and chained the gates shut before pupils could enter the grounds.
They then staged a sit-in outside, warning they would not allow the schools to open unless the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) comes and opens at least two new schools for their children.
Both Masibambane and Bloekombos schools have over 1700 pupils each and community leader Linda Phito says in some classes, there are up to 60 children.
He says not only is this unfair to the children and their teachers as it impacts learning, but now there’s the added risk of Covid-19 infection as social distancing cannot be maintained.
“In Kraaifontein we’ve got five high schools and we think that they need another high school in this area. There is land available, but the government is doing nothing,” says Phito.
“How can we have 50 to 60 children in classes and it’s Covid?”
A mother, who did not want to be named, accused the schools of shutting out the locals.
“I applied for my daughter in June last year when she finished primary school in Eikendal.
“We tried all the other schools here, but no one can help us, and we live in the area.
“We also hear that school kids travel from as far as Khayelitsha to Masibambane, while our own kids suffer to get a place here.”
Siphi Saki of the Kraaifontein Development Forum says: “We need a third school in this area.
“This overcrowded school story is dragging on for four years now and there is no plan.”
WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond says they are aware of the parents’ demands for new schools in Bloekombos.
“It is unfortunate that they’re prevented teaching and learning from taking place. One simply cannot shut down schools and demand new ones be built.
“The WCED needs to plan for new schools – taking into account where there is the greatest needs and demands, budget and resources. Land is also an issue.
“We again appeal to parents who have children that are not yet placed to contact our district office.
“We are aware of the demands and the needs in various places, however, shutting down schools is not the answer.”