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Fears that Uitsig drop-out rate could rise after ConCourt orders school closed

The Constitutional Court has dismissed an appeal by Uitsig High School against Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s decision to close it.

The Western Cape Education Department tried to quell tensions at the Uitsig Secondary School on 25 May 2016 after the school was declared structurally unsafe. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - There are fears that the drop-out rate in Uitsig could increase following a ruling by the Constitutional Court for the closure of the only high school in the area.

The Constitutional Court has dismissed an appeal by Uitsig High School against Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s decision to close it.

This means the school will be closing down.

The WCED said it was too expensive to refurbish the run-down school building.

The school's governing body had been fighting for years to keep the doors open, calling instead on the provincial Education Department to upgrade it.

Former Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said this decision was unfortunate.

"In Uitsig we have three primary schools, there's one high school and now that high school's gone. The learners are going to have to move to a neighbouring high school which will raise the level of overcrowding and the drop-out level in Uitsig will now increase because of the gang problem in the community, so children can't move from area to the next."

Ehrenreich said there was a drastic need for a high school in that community.

"What we've got to do in these poorer communities is to make sure that education is provided as accessibly as possible because education is going to be the only way to turn around these communities that are completely dysfunctional and that have many problems."