According to AfriForum, the chaotic and ineffective school placement process for the 2021 academic year in the Gauteng province is once again proof that the Department of Basic Education is not able to fulfil this function effectively and that the placement of learners should be handled by schools themselves. The civil rights organisation also pointed out that Panyaza Lesufi, the MEC for Education in Gauteng, should rather be focusing on quality education rather than on petty attacks on AfriForum regarding issues that have nothing to do with education.
This follows after Lesufi announced on 29 November 2020, that more than 41 000 learners who have to register for Grades 1 and 8 next year are still waiting to be placed in schools. The placement process in Gauteng only commenced on 1 October this year and will continue until Monday 30 November. Lesufi also announced today that late registrations will be dealt with from 22 December 2020 to 22 January 2021. According to Natasha Venter, AfriForum’s advisor on education rights, this leaves very little time for parents who could not succeed in registering their children at a school in time for the 2021 academic year.
Lesufi also ranted about the fact that the Supreme Court of Appeal found Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte innocent after AfriForum had funded the appeal costs of these two men.
The online registration system as well as the placement process have, as in the past, again caused a lot of problems. “Some parents for example contacted AfriForum after they had received messages that their children had been placed at their second or third choice of school, while the school of first choice had already accepted that child on its placement list. This creates the impression that the school of first choice is already full, while these children will in truth be attending another school. This could mean that affected schools will not be filled to capacity. It therefore seems to AfriForum as though the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is trying to manipulate the process.”
Panyaza Lesufi’s obsession with power to control all schools and school placement in the province is, according to Venter, extremely unhealthy and to the detriment of all learners. “AfriForum will therefore continue to put pressure on the Department to give more power to schools and governing bodies to handle their own school placements. AfriForum will also continue to support schools and school governing bodies in their battle to solve placement problems before the start of the 2021 school year.”
Moreover, the GDE’s incompetence to ensure that there are enough quality schools available to learners has once again been evident. Unfortunately there are also various functional deficiencies at the few schools that the GDE did indeed establish.
“AfriForum encourages parents to stay in contact with the school of their choice for confirmation on whether their children are on the school’s placement list – even if they haven’t received an SMS notification yet,” says Venter.
AfriForum wants to know about cases where the GDE fails to assist parents with their problems: send an email to [email protected]
Read the original article in Afrikaans on AfriForum
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