Thousands of pupils yet to be placed in Gauteng, WC schools

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has called on parents and communities to refrain from disrupting schooling.

A teacher welcomes a pupil to class on the first day of the 2018 academic year. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - With pupils packing their bags for the first day of the 2018 academic year, many for the first time, the Gauteng Education MEC says that more than 28,000 children still need to be placed in schools.

MEC Panyaza Lesufi says that more than 2,000 pupils who had not been registered have been placed over the past few days and that his department is working to clear the backlog in the next few weeks.

“We’ve a problem of choice but when we resolve some of the challenges that we have, I think all learners should be placed by mid-February. I think everyone will be placed by then.”

Lesufi has called on parents and communities to refrain from disrupting schooling, warning that he will dissolve student governing bodies that fail to act in the interests of children.

At the same time, with schools reopening across the Western Cape on Wednesday, thousands of children are in limbo.

The parents and guardians of around 11,000 children are still scrambling to find space at the province’s public schools.

Despite the outstanding placements, the Western Cape Education Department says that it is all systems go for the 2018 academic year.

Spokesperson Jessica Shelver says officials will find space for learners who are in the lurch.

“In total, we’ve 11,249 pupils that have not been placed for the 2018 academic year. This figure will, however, decrease with school opening this week.

“Officials will continue working with schools to identify all places while providing additional accommodation mainly in mobile classrooms as required.”