New plan to put more learn­ers in classes


PAR­ENTS have raised con­cerns over the Gaut­eng Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment’s plans to in­crease Grade 1 and 8 class in­take next year to ac­com­mo­date un­placed learn­ers.

The depart­ment an­nounced it was work­ing with schools to in­crease ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date the un­placed learn­ers for 2020. But par­ents are wor­ried that the big class num­bers will mean their chil­dren get less at­ten­tion from teach­ers.

“The whole point of ap­ply­ing on time to schools is so that the chil­dren are not over­crowded and they get proper at­ten­tion from their teach­ers.

“So why does the depart­ment want our chil­dren to be ac­com­mo­dated in large class­rooms or in mo­bile class­rooms,” Thembi Hadebe, whose son has still not been placed, said.

The depart­ment has in­stead said schools will not be over­crowded as the num­bers will be closely mon­i­tored.

“It is also im­por­tant to note that the depart­ment has iden­ti­fied some schools in af­fected ar­eas that will be as­sisted with a pro­vi­sion of mo­bile class­rooms. We will also part­ner with in­de­pen­dent schools to ac­com­mo­date ex­cess learn­ers,” Ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Steve Mabona said.

Mabona said there was no need for par­ents to worry. “We will not force schools to take more num­bers than they can han­dle.”

Paul Colditz, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Fed­er­a­tion for School Gov­ern­ing Bod­ies, said: “In terms of the law the max­i­mum num­ber of learn­ers in the class­room has to be 40.

“At this stage of the year, the ca­pac­ity for schools has been signed off by the depart­ment and it will be ir­re­spon­si­ble to ac­com­mo­date more learn­ers.”

Colditz said send­ing mo­bile class­rooms would also not be good enough. “There are a lot of safety risks in­volved. Will there be enough ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties, se­cu­rity at the school?”

Mabona said some of the schools that had agreed to in­crease their ca­pac­ity in­clude Vaal High School which had a ca­pac­ity of 250 and have agreed to take in an ad­di­tional 100 learn­ers.

Two schools in the high pres­sure Cen­tu­rion ar­eas – Val­halla Pri­mary School and Cen­tu­rion High School – each had space for 160 learn­ers and had agreed an ad­di­tional 170.

The new Soshanguve East High School had a ca­pac­ity for 160 Grade 8s and that has now been in­creased with 40 more learn­ers.

Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskoo­l Pre­to­ria added an ad­di­tional 100 learn­ers to its orig­i­nal 220.

This week, the depart­ment had placed 267 611 learn­ers, and about 14 000 had still not been placed. All learn­ers are sup­posed to be placed by the end of the month.

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