The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) seems to be on course to conclude the placement of all Grade 1 and 8 learners in the province before the end of February. At the beginning of this week, the number of the unplaced learners stood at 3,366.
Yesterday the number was whittled down to 690 and GDE’s spokesperson, Steve Mabona, told Inside Education earlier this morning that in their estimation they should have wrapped up the process by next week.
“If all goes according to plan probably we would be done with the placement of learners before the end of next week,” said Mabona.
He said this was significant progress considering the number of learners they had to place in schools across the province when the academic year started in mid-January.
“The challenge we have is lack of space to accommodate all the learners who come to the province every year. Most schools are full but we have to try and find them space. We are trying to cope with the learner influx by opening a school every month. We have specifically targeted areas that show rapid growth such as Midrand and Fourways Corridors where parents who cannot afford to take their children to private schools turn to public schools,” said Mabona.
MEC Panyaza Lesufi said they would rather deal with overcrowding than deny kids a space to learn.
Mabona said the programme of building schools is ongoing and although resources are insufficient they try to make money available by reprioritising their budget. In a press release last week, Mabona said the main cause of the learner enrolment backlog is due to the relocation of parents from other provinces to Gauteng.
He said the highest number of relocation is from the Free State at 61, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 56 applications and Limpopo with 51.
The department also said they received relocation of learners from countries such as Zimbabwe, Burundi and India.