Western Cape to close 20 schools
Most were small farm schools in rural areas with low enrolment numbers and multi-grade classes
Twenty Western Cape schools will be closed at the end of this year, provincial education MEC Donald Grant said on Tuesday.
Most were small farm schools in rural areas with low enrolment numbers and multi-grade classes, he said.
The remainder were in urban areas and largely plagued by a decline in pupils.
"This has not been an easy process and I have had to make some very difficult decisions, but I am convinced that these decisions are in the best interests of all the learners concerned," Grant said.
The department originally earmarked 27 schools for possible closure. Public hearings were held recently to collect arguments for and against these closures, by school governing bodies, parents and civil society.
The MEC said that although he was not present at all the hearings, he received transcripts of every parties' arguments and used these to shape his decisions.
The schools to be closed are: Beauvallon Secondary, Bergrivier NGK Primary, Bracken Hill EK Primary, Denneprag Primary, Hoopsrivier NGK Primary, Klipheuwel Primary, Krombeksrivier NGK Primary, LK Zeeman Primary, Langklook Primary, Lavisrylaan Primary, Protea Primary, Redlands Primary, Rietfontein Primary, Rondevlei Primary, Tonko Bosman Primary, Unionskraal Primary, Valpark Primary, Wansbek Primary, Warmbad-Spa Primary and Welbedacht UCC Primary.
The schools that would remain open were Athwood Primary, Bosplaas NGK Primary, Nuhoop NGK Primary, Peak View Secondary, Rodewal UCC Primary, Wittedrif Primary and Zonnebloem NEST Senior.
"I would like to stress that parents of learners at schools that will close do not have to worry about enrolment for the 2013 school year," Grant said.
He said pupils would be transferred to schools that offered better opportunities.
Where necessary and possible, the department would assist with school uniforms, transport and feeding.
If a pupil was moving from a no-school fee school to one charging fees, the department would cover the fees for 2013.
The department also would cover the difference in cases where fees were more expensive.
"Where necessary, the department will also assist parents to apply for fee exemptions for future years."
Parents were encouraged to read the plan for their affected school for further details.
The principals and staff of the schools to be closed would be transferred appropriately.
Grant gave assurances that their salaries would not change.