Pri­vate school res­cues ‘pained’ Le­sufi

The Star Late Edition - - Front Page - CHULUMANCO MAHAMBA [email protected]

THE GAUT­ENG Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment (GDE) has been forced to seek help from pri­vate schools to en­sure that all pupils have space in grades 1 and 8.

Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi said the ad­mis­sion pro­cesses this year were “painful” be­cause of the new reg­u­la­tions and the im­pact these had on par­ents.

On Mon­day, des­per­ate par­ents of un­placed pupils flocked to GDE of­fices across the prov­inces to plead their cases.

In Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day hun­dreds of dis­grun­tled par­ents held a meet­ing at Aka­sia Hall to call for the dis­man­tling of the on­line ap­pli­ca­tion sys­tem, which they said had proven to be a fail­ure af­ter 15 000 pupils could not be placed this week.

Mean­while, yes­ter­day Le­sufi said the big­gest headache that needed to be re­solved was place­ment in schools that had been ap­proached by the depart­ment last year to in­crease their ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date more pupils with ei­ther big­ger classes or mo­bile classes.

He said some schools had bla­tantly re­fused the of­fer, re­sult­ing in the par­ents of un­placed pupils be­ing in limbo.

“All those par­ents who got place­ments and the schools who re­fused to take their place­ment be­cause there was that com­mu­ni­ca­tion break­down, we want to as­sure them (par­ents) that part will be at­tended to im­me­di­ately,” he said.

To mit­i­gate the ca­pac­ity chal­lenges, the depart­ment has ap­proached af­ford­able pri­vate schools such as Curro schools to ac­com­mo­date pupils who were placed and then re­jected.

“Curro has in­di­cated they will place all un­placed pupils that we have who can af­ford to go to these schools,” he said.

Le­sufi said the par­ents would pay fees equiv­a­lent to the fees they were go­ing to pay at the public schools their chil­dren were orig­i­nally placed at, and sub­se­quently re­jected.

“They would re­ceive a 30% re­duc­tion in fees.

“This sim­ply means that if a par­ent was go­ing to pay R5 000 for Park­town Girls, when you take that child to Curro that par­ent must not pay more than R5 000,” he said.

Le­sufi said the chal­lenge for the depart­ment was that there were schools like Jeppe High School for Girls and Al­ber­ton High School that were in high demand, although the schools could only ac­com­mo­date a cer­tain num­ber of pupils.

Par­ents who were un­happy about their chil­dren’s place­ment were en­cour­aged to sub­mit ap­peals.

About 700 ap­peals were pro­cessed by the depart­ment’s dead­line yes­ter­day.

“Some of the ap­peals have been up­held, but I must em­pha­sise that the ma­jor­ity were un­for­tu­nately not up­held… but we will con­tinue to place those chil­dren in schools that have va­can­cies,” he said.

Le­sufi also re­luc­tantly an­nounced that the late regis­tra­tion process opened to­day un­til Jan­uary 24.

He added that par­ents who had ap­plied on time but were dis­sat­is­fied with their child’s place­ment must still ac­cept the of­fer, oth­er­wise the space would be of­fered to a late regis­tra­tion pupil.

Ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment, there were 912 pri­mary schools and 374 high schools with space avail­able for late ap­pli­ca­tions.

“By the end of Jan­uary we will have placed all late regis­tra­tion pupils be­cause with late regis­tra­tion there is not a ques­tion of choice, we are open­ing where there is space, you ap­ply and you’re placed,” he said.

This morn­ing Le­sufi and Premier David Makhura will of­fi­ci­ate the re­open­ing of schools with an of­fi­cial han­dover of the new No­ord­ge­sig Pri­mary School in Diep­kloof.

@Chu­lu_M

MEC Panyaza Le­sufi

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