More than a thousand pupils still without schools

Crisis looming for Gauteng grades 1 and 8 pupils

Noxolo Sibiya Journalist
Gauteng MEC for education Matome Chiloane during a press conference on the opening of schools for 2023 in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.
Gauteng MEC for education Matome Chiloane during a press conference on the opening of schools for 2023 in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.
Image: Antonio Muchave

As schools prepare to open on Wednesday, the Gauteng education department says 1,384 grade1 and 8 pupils across the province still have not been placed in school.

This was announced by MEC Matome Chiloane who was giving an update on the online admissions and school readiness ahead of the reopening tomorrow.

Chiloane said among some of the reasons pupils were not placed were schools that have reached their maximum capacity and late applications by parents.

He said areas such as the Ekurhuleni north district, the Tshwane West district and Johannesburg West are high-pressure areas where schools have run out of space.

“Two hundred and thirty six (236) grade1 applicants remain unplaced in Olifantsfontein near Centurion. The schools will receive three additional mobile units to increase the school capacity. Five hundred and one (501) grade 8 applicants remain unplaced in the Kempton Park area. The schools will confirm the available spaces for further placement once placed applicants report to schools on day one,” he said.

In Tshwane, 223 grade 8 pupils around Akasia and Theresa Park remain unplaced and in Johannesburg West, 434 grade 8 applicants remain unplaced in Roodepoort.

Chiloane said the department is negotiating to occupy facilities used by Robinhood College in Maraisburg to accommodate the Roodepoort pupils, and is in the process of building a satellite high school for those affected in Tshwane.

“We are faced with a situation where schools will either be overcrowded or learners will be sitting at home. We can’t have learners sitting at home.”

The department insisted that the online application system is working and that many of the issues were around the choice of schools by parents.

The department has received 4,801 appeals from parents objecting to the placement of their children in particular schools.

Some parents were dissatisfied with the schools chosen for them while others were disputing why their children were place at a school outside the feeder zone.

The department acknowledged that about 200 of the appeals were legitimate appeals caused by administrative errors at schools level and were being sorted out.

Head of department Edward Mosuwe said the growth of the population in the province is moving faster than the infrastructure growth at schools.

“...some schools are full beyond capacity because of the population in that feeder zone. In that case we have no choice but to place the learner at the next nearby school,” he said.

“Parents who applied late must understand that they will not be able to choose which school their child will go to because high-pressure schools are full. But all learners will be placed.”

He said 108 high-pressure schools were allocated funds for 408 self-built classrooms.

The department said it anticipates that all pupils will be placed by the end of the month with catch-up programmes being prepared for them.

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