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Gauteng Education places 100% of Grade 1 and 8 applicants, faces parental hesitation



The GDE says it has placed all Grade 1 and 8 applicants in schools serve for parents who prefer some schools due to distance or other preferences.

As pupils gear up to go back to school, the Gauteng Education Department (GDE) said 100% of Grade 1 and 8 pupils who applied for placement had been enrolled.

As the school gates open on Wednesday morning, the department said it expected more than 350 000 Grade 1 and 8s to go to school.

Some parents don’t want certain schools

Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane, speaking with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, said the department had offered spaces to everyone who applied on the province’s online application system.

“We are now dealing with parents who do not want the schools we have offered spaces for their kids,” the MEC said.

Some of the reasons why parents do not want certain schools are because they are too far from home or not a “good fit” for their children.

ALSO READ: Late applications for Gauteng grades 1 and 8 now open

Chiloane, however, said the schools these parents were fearing to enrol their children at were, however, some of the best-performing in the province.

“Currently, our top performing schools are in townships, so that shows that we’ve done a lot to change the landscape of the province, and parents should trust some of these schools. Some applied to a former model C school, but the school with the most applications was a school in Katlehong with 2 700 applications for 300 spaces,” he said.

The MEC added that this shows that confidence in township schools was increasing.

School safety

Last year, safety in schools was a big topic of discussion after numerous tragic incidents occurred to pupils, including 17-year-old Grade 12 pupil Palesa Malatji from Ntsako Secondary School in Soshanguve, who was raped and murdered on her way home after attending extra classes.

Chiloane said the department was aware of the challenges faced in the province’s schools and has prepared for them during this academic year.

ALSO READ: Another Gauteng education official shot

“For instance, we know the schools in hotspot areas; we’ve done our research, and we’re sitting at about 155, and we have put up security to ensure that schools are safe and they have security during the day and at night,” he said.

“Furthermore, we have a patroller programme with which we are working through the Gauteng Department of Community Safety. There are about 5 000 patrollers placed in Quintile 1 to 3 schools across the province.”

The MEC added that pupils and teachers in these schools will be searched every day.

‘Education is a societal issue’

He emphasised that the safety and security of schools need community involvement, as the department’s jurisdiction is within the school parameters.

“We want our communities to understand that education is a societal issue and that it needs all hands on deck… As much as the department can do its part within the parameters of the school, we need the community to work with us outside the parameters of the school.”

ALSO READ: 22 Gauteng schools built with asbestos ‘to be completed before March 2026’

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