28,000 pupils miss out on place as schools starts

Protesters scuffle with South African riot police officers during a protest at Ho‘rskool Overvaal school on January 18, 2017 in Gauteng, South Africa. AFP PHOTO | MUJAHID SAFODIEN  

Thousands of parents in South Africa’s northern Gauteng province are anxious after their children failed to get school placements in time for the new academic year.

The Gauteng Department of Education, for the first time, was unable to place 28,000 children in schools before the beginning of the term.

The department’s spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed on Wednesday that 28,000 were yet to be assigned schools.

“We’ve a problem of choice but when we resolve some of the challenges we have, I think all learners should be placed by mid-February. I think everyone will be placed by then,” said Mr Panyaza Lesufi, a member of Gauteng’s executive committee for education.

More than one million pupils reported to school across Gauteng on Wednesday after getting placements.

The opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng called on Mr Lesufi to engage with independent schools in order to place the affected pupils.

The DA said it finds it regrettable that many pupils are denied access to basic education due to the provincial government’s poor planning.

“There should be no child of school-going age sitting at home because the department has failed its obligation to provide basic education,” DA’s Mr Khume Ramulifho said.

He said the DA will continue to visit schools to ensure that they have the necessary resources to ensure learning and teaching.

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