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Parents and children await representatives from the Department of Education at Greenside Primary School on Tuesday.

Parents’ despair over lack of space

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With a lack of space in schools seemingly being a yearly challenge, furious parents of learners who were rejected at various learning institutions in the city and surrounds pointed fingers at the Department of Education for its alleged failure to ensure placement for scholars before the start of the new academic year.
It was reported that disgruntled parents have frequented institutions such as Hoër Tegniese Skool Tom Naudé, Good Hope Primary School and Greenside Primary School since last Wednesday with hopes to secure spaces for their stranded children who wished to commence with lessons on the first day of schooling. When Polokwane Observer visited Greenside Primary School where over 100 parents and their children gathered on Tuesday morning, it was learnt that the institution was only used as assembly point for those who did not get admission at schools in the city and Seshego.
Parents who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of their children stressed that they had been forced to stay away from their places of work since last Wednesday with hopes that their children would be accepted at one of the schools.
They further indicated that their children are roaming the streets because the department has been taking them from pillar to post. Some of the parents applied for admission as early as April but still they were not assisted while others did late applications as they had to relocate to the city for different reasons. Those who gathered at Greenside Primary School established a temporary structure called ‘parents concerned group’ to keep order when they deliberate on issues at hand. One parent stressed a need to establish a permanent parents’ structure that will represent guardians at various learning institutions at the beginning of each academic year. By the time of going to print, hundreds of learners were still stranded at Greenside Primary School.
On Monday, departmental Spokesperson Sam Makondo indicated that they were doing headcount at all schools to verify that indeed learning institutions were full and reiterated that this was the only way to learn of the situation: “We first verify through headcount that indeed there is space before we place learners at schools. We are processing them case by case as per the reasons that are provided as to why they are late. In the main Polokwane is mostly affected because of job opportunities in the city and parents preferring certain schools over others. The department doesn’t deny children space, we ensure that all qualifying learners get space. It is not the responsibility of parents to place learners, it is the responsibility of the department to ensure that all learners are placed and are at school and that is what we are busy doing,” Makondo explained.

Story: ENDY SENYATSI
>>endy@observer.co.za