By: Natasha Archary
As the start of the 2021 academic year resumes this morning, 15th February, the basic education department calls for calm amid the rush to place 16,000 learners.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga appealed to parents to work with officials at district level to accelerate the process to place all learners at a school.
The rush to get learners placed comes after a two-week delay in the reopening of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the President stressing the second wave’s concerns.
“The demand for space, especially in Grades 1 and 8, remains a challenge for the sector,” Angie Motshekga spoke at a public briefing yesterday.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says his department is ready to commence with the 2021 academic year as more than 1.5 million pupils prepare to return to class on a rotational basis on Monday.
Listen to GDE’s Steve Mabona on Back To School & Gauteng School’s readiness.
Schools are not ready
Placements are not the only issue public schools face; many of the country’s schools are dealing with infrastructure, vandalism, and water and sanitation problems.
The phasing-in of schools was supposed to make it easier for the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to manage the pressure of returning learners.
The DBE is strained after 1,724 schools were vandalized over the festive season, and the recent spate of heavy rains causing further damage to facilities with flooding.
The expectation is that Gauteng will conclude its placement of all learners by the end of March, according to DBE Director-General Hubert Mweli.
Also read: Gauteng schools ready to open