Curro Holdings, South Africa’s largest JSE-listed independent school operator, says it has been approached by the Gauteng Department of Education for “potential” assistance with the placement of Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners.
According to the group, the department “is currently contacting parents with recommendations in terms of possible school options”.
“Curro will receive a list from the GDE and will then contact parents accordingly.”
While the department has placed most pupils for the 2020 school year, Curro was approached to assist with the placement of Grade 1 and Grade 8 learners in areas facing capacity issues.
“The group has indeed indicated its willingness to support the GDE in accommodating children who have not yet been placed within a school for the 2020 school year,” Curro said.
Discussions between the department and Curro about how the group can best assist have not yet been finalised.
However, discussions so far have concerned Grade 1 and Grade 8 pupils only, and within certain areas where school capacity challenges exist.
Both have agreed that enrolment will follow internal Curro criteria, that placements will be available at selected schools that have space, and that fees will be aligned to the Curro business model and not public school fee structures.
On Tuesday, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi threw a lifeline to parents who were late with their applications for Grade 1 and Grade 8 by reopening online registration.
Lesufi criticised schools that refused to accept more pupils, saying they were to blame for problems relating to the department’s online registration.
He said the department had approached private schools which agreed to take in more pupils, including Curro, which agreed to offer pupils a 30% price reduction.
“Our agreement with Curro is temporary until we have sorted [matters] out. We don’t want to have pupils at home when the schools open. In terms of the uniform at Curro, it will be the same. Curro is accepting our children on our behalf.
“We have negotiated a 30% discount. My only worry is, I don’t know how parents will react because we have not engaged them on time,” he said.
On Wednesday, Lesufi assured his Twitter followers that the agreement with Curro Schools is not being paid for by government.