Pupils leave ‘school closure’ march thwarted

Dozens of pupils and teachers marched to Parliament on14 September 2012, in rejection of the possible closures of 27 schools in the Western Cape. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - About 300 protestors marched to Parliament on Saturday, in rejection of the possible closures of 27 schools in the Western Cape.

Many of the demonstrators were affected schoolchildren, who marched in their full school uniform.

The pupils left Parliament disappointed, after no-one was available to receive their memorandum.

They were however accepted at their previous stop, the Western Cape Legislature, by head of the province’s education ministry Michael Wilter.

Wilter, who accepted the memorandum of behalf of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, said all grievances would be taken into consideration before a decision was made.

Meanwhile, parents and civil organisations who participated in the march believe the financial effects on parents are not being considered by the education department.

One mother, who asked not to be named, said she would not be able to afford new school uniform - as her child had just started school.

The department is thinking about closing smaller and less equipped schools in the province.

Western Cape MEC of Education Donald Grant announced in July that 27 schools could be closed by local government to “improve opportunities for learners by placing them in schools … better equipped to provide quality education.”

Grant is expected to make his final decision on the possible closures by 30 September, after he considers representations from the governing bodies of all 27 schools and holds public hearings on the matter.

(Edited by Thato Motaung)