State schools at capacity as parents private institution in droves

Pupils still waiting to be placed in schools

Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the placement of learners was a huge challenge.
Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the placement of learners was a huge challenge.
Image: Iavan Pijoos

A number of Gauteng pupils have not yet been placed at schools as the department says government schools have reached their capacity with many parents moving children from private schools as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A group of about 60 parents have been frequenting Gauteng education district office in Florida, west of Johannesburg, over the non-placement of pupils. The parents said majority of the pupils were in grade 8.

One parent, Denise Hennessy, 54, said they were worried about their children as the school term is coming to an end next week but they are still sitting at home.

“I was told by the district director today that schools were full as there is a number of parents who moved their children from private to public schools. I just did not understand because I applied very early for my grandson  who is supposed to start grade 8. We are very fortunate because we have WiFi at home and he is doing grade 8 work from YouTube,” she said.

Another parent who asked to remain anonymous said she had to move her grade 1 child to a private school. “I got tired of travelling between the district and the schools and I decided to take him to a private school as I was worried that he was being left behind,” she said.

Noluvo Dlepuma, who is a representative of 55 parents who lodged a grievance against the online application process, said after they had made several visits and calls both to the district and head office of the Gauteng education department, their children were still not placed.

“The school feeder [system] that the department talks about doesn’t apply, hence our kids are placed far away from their homes. We feel that the department has not been considerate towards parents and children’s feelings which results in emotional abuse. It is stressing for us parents to watch days passing not knowing where our children will ever attend school,” she said.

Another parent, Malebo Motlhoki, said a lot of parents lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. “Where does the department expect parents to get transport money from when they place our children 20km away from home?” she said.  

Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the placement of learners was a huge challenge. He said the department was still consolidating the number of affected learners.

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