Parents struggling with late registrations

2015-01-14 13:23


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Pretoria - Parents holding young children milled around school entrances in Pretoria central in a bid to secure places as the inland school year began on Wednesday.

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Some parents were agitated after being turned away from schools across the city in the rainy weather.

"I don't believe these schools genuinely don't have spaces for our kids. I have been to six schools this week and they all seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet like a choir," said Koketso Mothirha as she parked outside Hamilton Primary School.

She was seeking a Grade 1 vacancy for her son Samuel.

Mothirha, a travel agent, said she had recently moved into Pretoria from Bloemfontein.

"I do not know what I will do. I have the money and I want to pay in full. I had made arrangements for my son to attend school in Bloemfontein, but we are here because I have to work," said the mother of two.

Along Thabo Sehume Street in the city centre, Joseph Ncube was contemplating taking his two sons to a township school around 30km away.

"I've been turned away from virtually every school around town. I have been searching for a place since last year. It will be difficult financially to support my children's transport, but do I have options?"

Across town, principal of Dansa International College, Marelize de Bruin, had her hands full as Grade 1 pupils streamed in with parents in tow.

"It is the beginning of what will be a very good learning year for us. I am new at this school and am very happy to welcome all the learners," De Bruin said.

Her office had been inundated with inquiries from parents seeking places for their children.

"That is a huge problem. All our school grades have been full since August last year. We cannot take any more new pupils. We really want to help, but we can't," she said.

"The message of early registration of pupils is always repeated. Schools cannot wait for the first day of school to take in students. At this stage we are prioritising teaching the pupils we have."

Immigration trends

Due to immigration trends, Dansa International College had pupils from cities across Africa.

"You can name an African country, we have the students here. Some struggle with language initially but children do catch up quickly. They will soon be fluent in English," De Bruin said.

Parents were excited as their children settled into the new well-decorated and furnished classrooms. Many used cellphones to take photos of their children. A Grade 1 teacher, introduced to the class as Ms Chidanire, took charge of her classroom.

Some parents were still buying school uniforms and stationery across Pretoria on Wednesday morning.

"It's about the availability of money. There was no money, until today. My children will unfortunately have to start school on Thursday. There was nothing I could do," Thembani Mthethwa said as she came out of Jet Mart.

Paperless education

Gauteng government officials announced a paperless education project in Tembisa on Wednesday. Boitumelong Secondary School was one of seven Gauteng township schools where children will learn on tablet computers.

The project was unveiled by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, and Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

The provincial department hopes to roll the project out to all Gauteng township and rural schools by the end of the 2017/2018 financial year, at an estimated cost of R17bn.

All high school children would be provided with a tablet computer. Grade 7 pupils in primary schools would be trained to use the devices.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  johannesburg  |  education

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