More classrooms and teacher posts planned for Western Cape, says Education Department

Published Nov 23, 2022


The Western Cape Education Department has revealed an ambitious school infrastructure delivery programme where it aims to deliver 842 additional classrooms with at least 26 000 places for learners in the province.

The provincial department said that this number vastly exceeded the delivery of classrooms in previous years and has been made possible due to an R830 million increase in the infrastructure budget in 2022/23 “and greater flexibility in implementing our infrastructure programme”.

In a statement issued by the WCED, it lists what the unprecedented school build includes.

– Three brick and mortar new and replacement schools which will see 46 additional classrooms for Moorreesburg High School, Chatsworth Primary School, and Perivale Primary School

– Five new mobile schools, which will see 50 additional classrooms for a primary and high school in Klapmuts, a high school in Lwandle, a high school in Tafelsig and a high school in Mitchells Plain

– New classroom builds will bring 645 additional classrooms

– Seven Rapid School Build projects will bring 101 additional classrooms in Delft, Atlantis, Rivergate, Lwandle, Wallacedene, Hout Bay and Century City

“The Rapid School Build programme is an exciting new initiative that brings together various stakeholders with the aim of developing and building seven schools within six months to accommodate up to 3 200 learners. We are grateful for the assistance of partners like the City of Cape Town in overcoming some of the challenges that we have previously faced in building schools,” said provincial education MEC David Maynier.

The department said that it had already completed 164 classrooms planned for next year, and a further 510 are scheduled for completion by January 2023, with the final 168 due by March 2023.

However, it listed significant risks, which include social unrest, extortion demands and strikes which lead to delays in building completion.

The WCED said it had ensured that all the necessary employment criteria, municipal requirements, and procurement processes would be followed, but all too often, they see unnecessary and damaging protest action from individuals or groups seeking job opportunities and construction contracts or driving personal agendas. This can lead to delays in project completion dates which ultimately has an impact on the learner, it said.

It added that they were reliant on all building materials required for each classroom build to be available for delivery. Any transport delays, or shortages of certain materials could impact each build.

“We must all work together to prioritise the delivery of school infrastructure for our children so that we have plenty of space ready for new learners arriving for the 2023 school year,” the department stated.

Importantly, earlier this year, the WCED announced one of the largest increases in teaching posts it has had in years, with the appointment of up to 1 143 additional teachers.

This means that a sufficient number of teaching posts will be allocated to schools in preparation for the completion of additional classrooms, so they will be ready to go when learners arrive.

Admissions 2023

The WCED said it had received applications for 117 270 learners for Grades 1 and 8 for the 2023 school year, of which 22 113 were received late.

As of November 3 2022, WCED said it had placed 100 302 or 89.1%, of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for the 2023 school year and are in the process of placing 12 786, or 10.9%, of the Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners for the 2023 school year.

“However, this does not take into account the extremely late applications that we expect to receive from the end of this year onwards.”

Last year, the WCED received over 7 900 extremely late applications for the 2022 school year, with most of those arriving after January 2022.

“For this reason, we are aiming to build many more schools and classrooms than previously, with double the number of new places compared to the number of learners we are still finalising placement for,” it said.

The WCED has since appealed to parents to make early applications for their children for 2023.