Mass migration of ECape pupils

Nashira Davids

IF every pupil in the Western Cape costs taxpayers R12000 annually, how much did the influx of 105850 pupils over the past five years from the Eastern Cape cost?

The answer? More than R1.2-billion.

Western Cape Education MEC Donald Grant said while they were committed to providing all children with quality education, the influx of pupils due to inward migration had financial and planning consequences.

He said most came from the Eastern Cape.

"Pupil migration from other provinces is not a new phenomenon. It happens in every province, throughout the year. Parents move from province to province seeking new jobs or better education opportunities for their children.

"Education officials and departments prepare for inward migration as best they can each year but, ultimately, the long- and short-term impact on the system can be significant," Grant said.

This year, 19857 children from the Eastern Cape enrolled. Most entered the Western Cape system in grades R, 1 and 10.

"The arrival of pupils entering the system at the beginning of the FET band in schools, for instance in Grade 10, often poses specific challenges as our high schools and their educators have to accommodate pupils that have not been prepared in the same school. In many cases this creates an expectation gap around subject choices," he said.

Many pupils also arrived unexpectedly seeking enrolment, putting more pressure on teachers.

Between January 30 and Wednesday, Western Cape officials placed 1571 pupils from the Eastern Cape.

But education analyst Graeme Bloch said: "They must just do their job without pass laws. There is catch-up being played in the Western Cape."