Back to school: Parents up in arms as Limpopo govt still hasn't placed all pupils

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  • The Limpopo education department is struggling to find places in schools for a large number of children.
  • Angry parents gathered outside the department on Monday.
  • The department says some parents have applied for schools outside of their area.

On Monday the Limpopo education department was still battling to place a large number of children in schools, with parents gathering at the head office in Polokwane almost every day.

The authorities have apportioned blame to some parents who chose to apply to schools outside their vicinity.

In some instances parents made applications late to over-subscribed schools. 

Provincial education spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene said the urban areas were the most affected with Phalaborwa, Tzaneen, Lephalale, and Polokwane worst hit.

READ | Education dept will release matric results differently this year due to POPI Act

"These are applications to schools that are over-subscribed and to schools of choice (by parents) that are not within the feeder zone. There are late applications in some instances.

"Parents whose applications to schools of (their) choice were not successful are advised to seek placement at schools nearer to their place of residence

"Our circuit offices have been advised to offer admissions or space manually where space is still available," Chuene said.

Parents gathered at the Limpopo education head office seeking placement of their children in schools (Credit: Russel Molefe)

She said placements were made according to availability of space, "... and not necessarily preference of parents".

She was unable to provide an exact number of pupils not placed so far because the matter still has to go through "reporting channels".

However, some parents gathered at the education offices in Polokwane and told News24 they felt let down. 

They said they applied online, but received no response from the authorities. 

READ | Matric exam results won't be published on public platforms, in media - education dept

One parent, Tintswalo Rikhotso said: "I made online applications for my child way on time. I did not even receive an acknowledgment of the application and today my child is without school a week after the reopening of schools."

Another parent, Maggie Madiba angrily said authorities have been blaming parents for their own failures, saying:

They don't speak about the failures of their own system. Now we have to wait and we are being sent from pillar to post. Our children will now find it difficult to adjust to new school if ever we'll find one.

The possibility of an online application failure was first suggested by Premier Stan Mathabatha during the reopening of schools last week.

Responding to a question about non-placement of pupils, he said: "I don't have that kind of report. When you are in a leadership position like I am today, if there were failures, then the MEC (Polly Boshielo) would come and report about them.

"But what I suspect is that there may be technical glitches when it comes to online registration system or parents may have flocked to high-performing schools, leaving the schools in their own vicinities."

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