Education MEC tells parents not to panic

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Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Matlhatsi Dibakwane

Children not in school today will soon find a place in a classroom.

This was the assurance from Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi, who addressed the media yesterday.

He said there had been a rush of late applications, but parents should not panic because children would be accommodated where there was space for them. The deadline for registrations was closed and walk-ins were referred to district offices, not schools.

Panicky parents sat in a queue at the department’s Tshwane West District office in Odi yesterday, saying with a day to go, they were losing hope their children could start school today.

They were openly critical of the online system of admissions for Grade 1 and 8 pupils.

Among them was Sandra Kwata, 26, who said the failure to place her child made it seem as if she was disorganised. Yet, she said, her online application was not approved and now, a day before school opened, she was spending her days waiting in queues and had not even bought uniforms for her daughter who was supposed to start Grade 1 at Bokamoso Primary School in Soshanguve Extension 4.

“On Monday, I was told to go back to Bokamoso, but the school told me to come back here. And yet again the same long queue waited for me.”

Another parent said she had to call her family to find out the location of Thuto Thebe Primary School in Ga-Rankuwa where her son was placed.

“After being told to go there, I was confused as to whether I should take a taxi to town to buy uniforms or hear from the school first. I am truly hurt because my child might miss his first day at school,” she said.

Lesufi said the department had concerns when the online registration closed last year and there were still parents who had not applied.

But he said he would not compromise education by allowing 80 children to be placed in one class.

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Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

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