South Africa News

Gauteng education dept says they will catch up as 1000s of pupils still not placed in schools

While school began a week ago, thousands of pupils in Gauteng have not yet started their academic year.

Unhappy parents have resorted to visiting the district offices in Ekurhuleni in large numbers, hoping to get placements for their children in Grade 1 and Grade 8.

Technology fails pupils

The online applications system, meant to ease the placement of pupils in Gauteng schools, is being blamed for the more than 34,000 children that are missing out on school.

Parents want this new system to be scrapped because it is not working for them and their unregistered children.

“Thousands of pupils only get placed after re-applications, appeal processes, and late placements and this year is no different,” said Alana Bailey, Head of Cultural Affairs at AfriForum.

Among the challenges, schools are asked to take in extra pupils and assemble temporary classrooms. Capacity has been reached in most high schools.

“It is planned to accommodate eighth graders on primary school grounds due to insufficient space at high schools,” said Bailey.

Thousands unregistered

Speaking to eNCA, Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) spokesperson Steve Mabona said the more than 34 000 students who have missed the first week of school are already placed. But, some of the children have been placed in schools that are far away from where they live.

“Some have applied to different schools that they do not want, for different reasons,” said Mabona.

Mabona went on to say pupils who have been placed in schools far from their homes would receive assistance to get to school. He didn’t specify how the pupils would be helped.

“We have to acknowledge that we have many people in Gauteng, so we need to work with what we have. Parents cooperation will play a significant role in us resolving this challenge,” he said.

The publication reached out to Mabona for comment. Any update from him will be included, once received.

They will “catch up”

Having already missed the first week of school, the Department of Basic Education has assured parents that their children will be placed in schools.

Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane spoke to Jacaranda FM and vowed that “no child will be left behind.”

According to Chiloane, the department has procedures and catch-up programmes to help pupils who register late.

The Education MEC said because these placement problems are regular problems, they know how to bring the late students up to speed with their peers.

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