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'School closures will go ahead'

WC Education MEC said plans to close 27 schools will continue despite a protest by the ANC.

Education MEC Donald Grant. Picture: Malungelo Booi/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Education Department will soon be unveiling the next phase of the school closure plan.

The Department is being criticised and slammed by the African National Congress (ANC), parents and school governing bodies, over its plan to shutdown almost 30 schools across the province.

On Monday, the ANC said it will go to court if plans to close the schools go ahead.

Party supporters protested outside the Western Cape legislature where they called on Education MEC Donald Grant to resign.

Western Cape ANC Chairman Marius Fransman said Grant still needed to respond to their calls directly.

"Currently, they are disrupting the school education system among the 27 schools. We'll go to the high court, if necessary we'll go to the Constitutional Court - we stand ready for that."

Grant has emphasised he will not be swayed by any protests.

"It will not distract us from what we need to do. We are trying to prove the quality of education delivery in the Western Cape. We will stick to our guns and do what we need to do."

He said they do however remain open minded and welcomed constructive criticism.

"This attempt by the ANC and their continued protesting doesn't upset me. It is their free democratic right to protest."

The department has cited poor performance and dwindling pupil numbers as some of the reasons why the institutions needed to be closed.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Multigrade Education believes shutting down schools must be a last resort.

The centre's Jurie Joubert said: "It is better to try to turn schools around rather than close them."

He said too many questions about the department's plan remain unanswered.

"I understand that if there are too many schools, some must be closed, and I understand there is a policy. However they need to answer as to how they came to decide on the closure of these specific schools."