East London – Parents working on Cathcart farms in the province have accused the provincial education department for failing to provide scholar transport for their children.
They said the department had ignored their plea for transport, instead it closed more than 20 farm schools between 2004 and 2016.
This has forced them to move their children to schools which are as far as 30km from where they stay.
Some parents are renting outside rooms or shacks in Cathcart to keep their children in school. One parent said: “The school next to my house was shut in 2004.
One of my kids is here with me and doesn’t go to school.
“I also have an 11 year old who is not going to school. We want transport for our kids so they can go to school while staying with us.” Another parent said they couldn’t afford both transport and rent.
“We cannot afford to hire transport to ferry our kids from the farm to the
school in the city.
How will we survive if we pay for transport and rent as well?” Education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said some of these schools had been prioritised for the coming financial
year in the provision of scholar transport.
“The department is prioritising all deserving schools, irrespective of whether they are in rural areas or on farms.
We are doing this to ensure that pupils can access education irrespective of where they are coming from. “We received their application last year and we will be able to communicate
if the school is benefiting or not in the next financial year which is starting in April.”