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MEC Debbie Schäfer welcomes learners at start of 2020 school year

15 Jan 2020

MEC Schäfer welcomes learners at the start of the 2020 school year

Today I visited St Mary’s Primary School in Gardens, Cape Town, to welcome some of the more than 1 million learners that will start the school year in the Western Cape today.

Of these, about 107 000 are just beginning their school career in Grade 1 – an increase from 104 336 learners in 2019. Fortunately, principals and teachers will be on hand to dry any learners’ (and parents’) tears.

Starting high school, a projected 93 000 learners are joining us for Grade 8. This is a significant increase from 85 771 Grade 8s in 2019. We’ve also welcomed 69 400 Grade R learners so far.

As learner numbers continue to increase in our province, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is pulling out all the stops to find space for new learners. 

The WCED opens two new schools this year: Delft High School and Disa Rd Primary School. Learners from Crestway High School and Phillipi High School will also be moving into two new school buildings as part of our replacement programme.

There have been a number of expansion projects at schools across the Province. This includes the building of additional classrooms at schools to accommodate growth through a variety of means:

  • eight schools received 40 new brick and mortar classrooms
  • six schools received 18 Moladi classrooms
  • 11 un-utilised classrooms were refurbished
  • 103 mobile classrooms were built at 16 identified schools


Three schools received an additional 7 classrooms to accommodate more Grade R learners.

To parents who are having difficulties enrolling their child, or who have failed to enroll their child: I urge you to approach the local district office as soon as possible, for assistance with finding a place at a school.

Special walk-in centres have been set up to assist parents at district offices, and each office has identified specific officials who will assist parents who struggle to find a place when schools re-open. A list of these officials is available on the WCED website: https://wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za/admissions-201920

Safety will remain one of our key concerns in 2020. We will continue to work with partners at SAPS and the Metro police to ensure that our learners and teachers are safe at school. 

The City of Cape Town’s Transport Enforcement Unit together with Law Enforcement, Traffic Services and Metro Police will also be patrolling to ensure that learners are safely travelling to and from school.

Learners, parents, teachers and the wider school community can call our Safe Schools Call Centre on 0800 45 46 47 toll free to report abuse, crime, and bullying, and for information about a host of social issues.

To all our learners: I wish you all the best for the school year. The WCED will provide the support you need to succeed, but equally we need a commitment from you to work hard, apply yourself to your studies and respect your teachers.

I also wish parents a productive and happy year playing an active role in your children’s education – your involvement will make the difference in how well the year goes.

Images from the visit are available here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=13-gRMhAHfmlxbbDebJ5U-LqQ_H3KHhks

Media enquiries:
Kerry Mauchline – Spokesperson to MEC Debbie Schäfer
Cell: 084 210 3003 (Whatsapp preferred)
Email: Kerry.Mauchline@westerncape.gov.za

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