Western Cape MEC Debbie Schäfer has been accused of being dishonest about her remark that the children of Forest Village who learned under a tree did so by choice.
On Tuesday, Schäfer delivered his speech on the education budget. It was during the same event that the question of the children of the forest village arose.
Frustrated parents who are fed up with their children not being placed have demanded that WCED build schools in the area for their children. Over the years, more and more people moved to live in Forest Village, which also meant that schools in the area would be overcapacity.
ANC Deputy Chief Provincial Legislature Whip Muhammad Khalid Sayed tweeted that Schäfer said “children learn under trees by choice because they are offered places”.
In the debate on credit on the education budget in @WCProvParl, Education MEC responds to us on Forest Village by saying that children learn under the trees by choice because they have been offered places. What she does not say is that they were offered places in the schools of Khayelistsha which are already full.
– Khalid Sayed MPL (@MKhalidSayed) March 30, 2021
“We are not at all surprised by these remarks. They expose the nonchalant attitude of the MEC with regard to the placement of learners from poor regions and revealing of the liberal policies of the DA. It was the provincial government’s fault that no planning was done for a new school when they built Forrest Village, ”Sayed said.
He said Schäfer was dishonest when she said the students chose to learn under the trees.
“What she fails to mention is that these learners have been offered places in the already overcrowded Khayelitsha schools. Every parent wants the best education for their children. MEC must learn from Gauteng where old Model C schools are forced to enroll learners, ”Sayed said.
Schäfer said in his speech: “It is important not to draw a parallel between the situation in Klapmuts and that of the illegal ‘school’ operating in Forest Village. The latter is the case of a group of people trying to force WCED to hire selected individuals using children as pawns. “
Schäfer spokesman Kerry Mauchline said WCED has faced similar attempts like this in the past where some teachers are fighting over jobs over this type of action by members of the the community.
“Some of the children had already been placed in schools but their parents took them out of the school where they were registered to attend the illegal school.
“WCED initially offered various placement alternatives at the end of last year – both in primary and high school. Each offer was either turned down, or would only be accepted if we employed their “existing teachers” and created a “new school” on the premises of another. We cannot just appoint teachers or create new schools in this way, ”she said.
Mauchline said that since speaking directly to parents, some parents have opted for the department’s alternative school placement options, including the Apex Elementary School offering.
She confirmed that the number of out-of-school children stood at 5,741.