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.