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Gauteng ready for 2017 academic year - dept

Gauteng Education Department’s spokesperson Oupa Bodibe says it’s all systems go on Wednesday as schools in the province reopen.

Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG – The Gauteng Education Department says it’s ready to begin the 2017 academic year on Wednesday as over 2 million children prepare for school.

A total of 58,000 children, including the 45,000 grade 1 and grade 8, will stay at home as they are yet to be placed in a school due to late applications.

The department says while it is making very slow progress in dealing with this backlog, departmental spokesperson Oupa Bodibe says it’s all systems go for tomorrow.

“They will have a teacher in front of them. They will have all the material they require to learn and they will be sitting on [sic].”

Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says parents who have applied late for the 2017 academic year may have to wait until the end of next month for their children to be placed in schools.

Lesufi has assured parents who applied on time that their children will be placed this week.

“All our district offices are inundated with people trying to make up placements and there are people that are starting applications afresh, that’s for the first time now in January. Those without any shadow of hesitation, I must be frank with them that they will be the last ones to be considered.”

Last year, the provincial department implemented an online application process for grade 1 and 8 pupils.

The department said parents will be notified by SMS by this week on where their children have been placed.

Bodibe said there is no need for concern.

“We hope that the number will drastically go down today [Monday] as the schools update the system but we can assure parents their children will definitely be in a school.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)