IN QUOTES | Panyaza Lesufi says more schools must be built in Gauteng to meet demand

28 September 2020 - 13:17
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says parents need to act quickly to accept or decline school placement offers.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says parents need to act quickly to accept or decline school placement offers.
Image: Vathiswa Ruselo/Sowetan

Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi gave grade 1 and 8 parents one week to accept or decline school placement offers. Lesufi on Sunday gave an update about the online registration process for the 2021 academic year during a media briefing.

Lesufi said parents will forfeit the placements if they are not accepted within the stipulated period — to avoid unnecessary backlog and costs. The department has received 157,000 applications since June 25.

Here are seven quotes from his briefing:

Limited space

“We have more applications than available space so there are parents who will not have their children placed at their preferred schools. There will be no child who will not be placed, the only difference is that we might place your child at a school that you did not prefer.”

Outstanding documents 

“Unfortunately we have learners who were not born in our country and don't have documents. Our position remains the same; sort out your documents with the department of home affairs. For grade 1 there are 4,000 learners who could not give us documents and for grade 8, there are 3,000.”

Building new schools 

“We are using the applications we have received to determine in which areas we need to build or expand schools. There is a pattern where parents are moving and therefore there is an urgent need for us to build schools in those areas. There are areas where parents don't want to apply [surrounding schools]. We can't continue to have such a school, we need to address that problem.”

Selection criteria 

“Our first criteria will be who is closer to the school. The second will be who is within the perimeter of the school. You might not be closer to the school but are within the feeder area or ward of that school. The third is whether we have the capacity, and the nature of the school. We can't take a boy to a girls' school or school which does not offer the relevant subjects.”

Mounting pressure for public education 

“We need to move with the necessary speed to address [school shortages]. To us, it is a vote of confidence on public education, and if you take into consideration the pressures of Covid-19, that parents cannot afford to pay for private education, we will have additional numbers in the public education space.”

Matric examinations 

“We endorse the call by the minister of education that the paper must remain the way it is and must not be changed. We must not say because this year we had Covid, matriculants must write a lighter paper. That would be a disservice to the learners and to the country. Matriculants of 2020 must be exactly the same as [past matriculants] and we don't want to stigmatise matriculants of 2020 when they go to university.”

Examination centres 

“We had to approach churches, we had to approach community halls but with the increase of the alertness related to Covid that is social distancing, we need to get additional classrooms for these learners to write exams that are credible. In total, we now have 1,088 examination centres that will be used for these exams.”