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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

Back to school: 24 Gauteng schools vandalised during December holidays

Gauteng was reeling from a scourge of public schools being burgled and vandalised

While anticipating a flood of late registrations, the Gauteng department of education (GDE) was yesterday bullish about its state of readiness to accommodate thousands of pupils.

The department has already registered 99.52% (290 757 pupils) in Grades 1 and 8, with unplaced applicants standing at 0.48% (1 394) – ahead of today’s start of the 2023 school year.

Despite Gauteng grappling with a total of 8 375 late applicants, Education MEC Matome Chiloane has assured that the department would find space for all pupils who have applied for schooling, with the GDE having mooted measures, which included placements in schools “not of their choice” – coupled with ramping up the increase of mobile classrooms.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Over 290 000 Grade 1 and 8 pupils already placed in schools – Gauteng Education

Late applications cut off end January

Addressing a media briefing at Ekurhuleni’s Hoerskool Jeugland, Chiloane said late applications were opened on 20 December, with the cut off date set for end of this month.

“Applicants who applied during this period, were auto-placed at available schools,” he said.

“Those who failed to provide proof of residence, will be treated as late applications and will also be auto-placed at schools with available spaces.”

Refrain from vandalism

Appealing to communities to assist the provincial government in its drive against vandalism of schools, Chiloane said Gauteng was reeling from a scourge of public schools being burgled and vandalised – with furniture, gates, window frames, doors and taps, being stolen.

According to Chiloane, a total of 120 schools were vandalised since the beginning of last year’s academic year, with 24 institutions affected during the December holidays.

“A total of 488 schools are on an infrastructural maintenance programme, but public money is going through a bottomless pit, due to recurring incidents of vandalism,” said Chiloane.

“Vandalism of schools, should be treated as a crime against the people of South Africa – treacherous and a treason.

“I appeal to all communities to regard schools as national key-points, because if you are disrupting a school, you are disrupting the future of the country.

“We have acquired services of certain security companies to guard schools in hotspot areas.

“We have also requested the services of the SA Police Service, to set up mobile police stations, within a radius of one kilometre from the schools – also making regular patrols.

“But the most important intervention is the community around the school – an important stakeholder we want to come on board.”

Unhappy parents can appeal placement

DGE head of department Edward Mosuwe said unhappy parents were entitled to lodge appeals against school placement.

“This is in instances where a school may have erred in placing a pupil,” said Mosuwe.

“Out of the 4 801 appeals received, there have been 292 parents whose applications were upheld, because there were administrative challenges which cropped up in at the point of placement.

“Once the parent has lodged an appeal, it means the department has offered the child a space, but in school you have not applied for.

“The department has a constitutional responsibility and an obligation to find a child a school – sometimes not where the parent has applied.

“There are instances when parents would be unhappy with a school provided. In such instances, it depends on whether there is space available.”

In marking Gauteng’s start of the 2023 school calendar, Premier Panyaza Lesufi will today officially open Mapenane Secondary School in Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria, while members of his executive council, will be conducting site visits at other institutions.

NOW READ: Back to school: Uniforms add to parents’ load

– brians@citizen.co.za

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