THE KwaZulu-Natal department of education has recorded a large number of absent pupils at schools since transport woes started early this year.
MEC Senzo Mchunu said yesterday that the lack of a bus transportation service in Durban continues to force hundreds of pupils to miss school.
He said education officials have reported that many schools are recording an unusually high rate of absenteeism.
"It is an unfortunate situation," Mchunu said. "We share the concerns of the parents and affected pupils, and hope that an amicable solution will be found as a matter of urgency."
He urged members of the community to come to the pupils' rescue by starting lift clubs, saying that parents should help one another where possible.
The pupils were left stranded when the company appointed in 2003 to operate the city's buses shut down early this year.
As exams draw nearer parents who cannot afford taxi fares are worried that the pupils will not perform well because of absenteeism.
KwaZulu-Natal Parents Association chairperson Fayed Rajack said the eThekwini municipality should put the buses back on the road as soon as possible since the situation negatively affected the education of many pupils.
He said that once the transport issue had been sorted out the teachers should put in extra time and effort to help pupils catch up on the time lost.