Calitzdorp parents demand answers from WCED over school overcrowding

Excelsior Primary School, in the Western Cape town of Calitzdorp, has 516 learners but only 13 teachers.

Picture: Xlcr.primary/

CAPE TOWN - Calitzdorp parents said they will demand answers from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) when they meet about overcrowding on Wednesday night.

Excelsior Primary School, in the Western Cape town, has 516 learners but only 13 teachers.

One classroom has up to 66 learners.

Parents have forced the school to close this past week and they are refusing to allow it to reopen until the department deals with the issues.

The school governing body's Colleen Murphy said: “There is so much pressure on teachers to perform but they don’t have the time to give proper attention to all these children's problems. We want the department to come and tell us that they are sending us three new teachers and class assistants for every class and grades.”

Meanwhile, the WCED said it has resolved concerns of learner punishment at Abedare Primary School in Delft.

The department had investigated reports that grade 1 learners were punished by being locked in a classroom because they did not have R2 for a casual day.

The department's Bronagh Hammond said at a meeting with the accused teacher, an assistant and learners it was discovered the learners were supervised by a teaching assistant and were not locked in the class.

“The WCED has, however, communicated with the school and have informed them that fundraisers during school contact time that exclude learners are unacceptable. Schools are places of hope and inclusiveness, therefore no learner should be excluded from any activity during school time because they are unable to afford the cost of the fundraiser.”

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)