'I don't know which school my child has to go to': Limpopo parents await placement for kids

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Limpopo Department of Education is still facing the challenge of placing pupils.
Limpopo Department of Education is still facing the challenge of placing pupils.
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  • The Limpopo education department is still struggling to place some children ahead of the new school year.
  • Pupils are set to return to inland schools on Wednesday.
  • One parent said she was frustrated and could not plan anything because of the delay.

The Limpopo Department of Education is still facing the challenge of placing pupils on the eve of inland schools reopening on Wednesday.

Department spokesperson Mike Maringa described the situation as "overwhelming", with a high number of parents turning out at various circuit offices on Tuesday seeking placement for their children.

The hardest hit areas were the Pietersburg and Ellisras circuits in the Capricorn and Waterberg districts, respectively, due to various reasons such as relocation of parents, late applications and parents wanting their children placed in a school of their choice.

"The department is working around the clock to ensure that every learner is placed for the academic year 2023. 

"The department will first process applications received between May and [the] end of July last year. Parents who applied for internal grades last year will be assisted between Thursday and Friday this week," Maringa said. 

READ | Back-to-school clock is ticking as more than 1 300 pupils seek placement

Though the department earlier warned it would not entertain the issue of a school of choice by parents, it had now announced the matter would be addressed on Monday.

At the beginning of the 2022 academic year, a large group of parents stormed the head office in Polokwane and held the head of department and other officials hostage over the issue of pupil placement.

Some parents hanging around the circuit office in Polokwane on Tuesday - and who spoke to News24 - expressed frustration at the department's slow pace.

Sophie Sebola said she applied for the placement of her child within a stipulated period, but did not receive any response.

Sebola added:

It is something like this that frustrates some of us. It disrupts all the planning because I don't even know at this moment which school my child has to go to and what are the expectations there.

The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) in the province said it believed "things will go according to plan" during the start of the academic year.

Speaking to News24 on Tuesday, Sadtu provincial secretary Sowell Tjebane said teachers started reporting for duty on Monday.

READ | Parent frustrated as child remains unplaced despite early online application

However, Tjebane was concerned about all the required stationery and other materials being delivered to schools.

"Year on year, we were informed about the [stationery] delivery, but this year we were never taken on board. We will embark on our method of gathering information. We will have a clear picture on Friday."

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