Cape schools ready to fight to stay open

Cape schools facing closure say they’re ready to battle the MEC’s decision once again.

Parents talking to lawyer Jerald Andrews after the Western Cape High Court ruling to keep the 17 school facing closure open indefinitely. 31 July 2013 Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Officials at a number of Cape Town schools which are again facing closure say they are ready to battle the Western Cape Education Department.

MEC Donald Grant confirmed this week the department has decided to appeal the court ruling, which has kept the doors of 17 Western Cape schools open.

"Yes, the decision has been made to appeal. It's now up to the court whether they'll give us leave to appeal. This decision was made carefully after consultation with the national minister."

The MEC decided to decommission the schools last year due to low pupil numbers and reliance on multi-grade teaching, among other issues.

The department believes that learners' interests are best served in single-grade classes, with one teacher per grade.

But Grant's decision was overturned by the Western Cape High Court last month.

Lavis Drive Primary School principal Brenda Davids said her school deserves to stay open.

"I just told myself I can't be despondent because we've come so far. It's been a year now that we've been struggling to keep the school open and now this has happened."

Earlier this month Grant said that while the department was not successful before it still had the mandate to close more schools.

"There is nothing which precludes us moving and closing other schools. The majority of the judges are questioning the process but not the merits of my decision."

At the same time the African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape slammed the department for trying to close down the schools in the first place.

Provincial ANC leader Marius Fransman said Grant should "bath in shame".