School overcrowding: consultations continue
THE Western Cape department of education says it will continue consulting parents in a bid to resolve the problem of overcrowding at Umyezo Wama Apile Combined School in Grabouw.
At a meeting early this week parents rejected the department's plan to accommodate 214 pupils at the Cape Teaching and Learning Institute in Cape Town for the second term.
They cited transport problems and a new environment as some of the reasons for their refusal.
The aim of the department is to accommodate the grade 11 and 12 pupils at the Cape Town facility to reduce pressure at Umyezo Wama Apile Combined School.
The Overberg town has been tense since a protest over overcrowding at the school descended into racial clashes between coloured and African parents.
The clashes took place about three weeks ago.
Speaking to Sowetan yesterday provincial education department spokesman Paddy Attwell said: "We will continue consulting parents to ensure that we find a solution that suits the best interests of the pupils of Umyezo Wama Apile Combined School."
Attwell confirmed that the department had organised the meeting.
"The department is providing in-service training for teachers at the Cape Learning and Teaching Institute in Cape Town. The institute has excellent accommodation.
"The department will provide accommodation, meals and transport so that pupils can only return to their homes over weekends.
"The intervention will ease pressure on the school while the department completes a temporary satellite campus for the pupils," Attwell said.
He added that the department planned to complete the structure in the third term.
Attwell said they were considering two sites for the proposed structure.
A portion of one of the sites chosen included a wetland, Attwell said.
"We will fence off the wetland if we do build on that site. We will not place mobile classrooms in a wetland," he said.
The department plans to erect a temporary facility to house the extra pupils but the parents and community leaders are opposed to the plan.
At the centre of the conflict is the choice of the site where the department seeks to build the temporary facility.