How do you arrive at the conclusion (“Thembelihle pupils locked out of schools yet again”, January 27) that there was “dilly-dallying” when the man who gave the Gauteng education department a list of the pupils not placed in any school could not provide documentation or even access to the parents?
And he arrived on January 19, a day after the schools opened. Who do we place in what school when there are no documents? Should principals be removed from managing teaching to search for “parents” who do not present themselves, but shout slogans from the school gates?
The reason we ask parents to register on time is exactly to avoid this kind of situation. Did Bongani Nkosi ask them why it took so long to realise that they needed a place at school? Why did they not present themselves at the district office?
Admissions are not based on blanket lists. They are based on a relationship between the parent and the department. When we ask their “leader” to present the parents, he is unable to do so.
Instead, the “parents” organise a march from school to school. As explained, the intention is to avoid exactly this type of situation at schools, hence we advise that they come to the district office. Yet they create a ruckus, invite the Mail & Guardian and they have a “story”.
If we say to late applicants in January “Go find out for yourselves if there is space at a school”, the poor parent will have to travel from school to school searching for space. We are making it simpler by saying: “Come to the district office. We know the capacity of schools in our district and we can place your child.” If there is a need to deploy prefabricated classrooms based on increased demand, the district can decide where to place them. An individual principal cannot make that decision.
These “parents” do not apply on time, do not go to district offices and do not submit their children’s documents, yet they are “victims” when the department goes out of its way to help. — Charles Phahlane, Gauteng education department