Eastern Cape’s Education Department Taken To Court Over Closure Of 4 Farm Schools


Educational department in some parts of the nation’s provinces are faced with the technical and logical challenges that has demeaned most of their schools. The Eastern Cape department of education is about to shut down about 2000 schools including four farm schools as well as the Centre for Child Law (CCL), due to the fact that they lack proper plans to transport its pupils

The Legal Resources Center which is representing the four farm schools and CCL has already prepared papers to the Grahamstown High Court requesting that the education department be banned from doing so until the legally required consultation with parents has taken place

The LRC also filed that the department to provide parents with a plan on where their children will be accommodated.

A Wits Centre for Applied Legal Studies’ who investigated the plans to close down farm schools found out the congested nature of most of the schools there as that a single staff member at a hostel supervised almost 300 children.

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Report also has it that in some cases, parents were forced to pay R200 a month for transport to the new schools even though they were living on a R300 child support grant a month.

Some schools had pupils dropping out of school, at times they walk long distances to new schools or stayed unsupervised in hostels near taverns, according to the center’s legal papers.

Eastern Cape’s education department has on several occasions been charged to court by the LRC for failing to take important decisions that could help schools.

Some of the cases levied against the department includes its failure to provide school transport, Audit thousands of schools that needed furniture and provide desks and seats; Fill up the vacant spaces in most of the schools and Pay teachers and refund parents who had paid salaries of government teachers for up to a year.

However, in December, Premier Phumulo Masualle announced the Eastern Cape department of education was planning to close 2000 schools that had 230 pupils or less – affecting tens of thousands of pupils.

LRC spokesperson Claire Martens also confirmed this last year by saying that principals at the Huntley Glen, Belmont, Belvedere and Lynedoch schools in the Fort Beaufort district were told that their schools would be closed by the end of the first term in 2016.

“Across the country, provincial departments of education are closing farm schools in rural and remote communities, often forcing families to send learners as young as seven-years-old to live in under-staffed, poorly supervised hostel schools in distant towns.

Though the Eastern Cape’s education department spokesman Loyiso Pulumani denied plans to close down schools, the LRC said it was not opposing plans  to school closures in principle, but the department ought to follow due process in doing so.

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