The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) will now introduce English and Afrikaans as the language of teaching and learning in township schools, in an effort to accommodate displaced learners in this province.
This is a statement by the GDE on Tuesday. According to this, the department will help schools that received few enrollments for 2020 to appoint qualified teachers who can teach in English and Afrikaans. These schools are mostly located in townships and some have received only 16 applications for gr. 1- or gr. 8 learners to attend school here next year.
The civil rights organization AfriForum will now demand in a letter written to the Gauteng Prime Minister and ask that the Education MEC in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, resign. “We will also file criminal charges for corruption and malpractice within the GDE under the leadership of Lesufi,” said Carien Bloem, AfriForum’s education coordinator. In addition, several parents and schools threaten legal action because the department does not place learners correctly according to the applications.
The department has yet to place 14,600 learners who applied successfully on the department’s online platform in May. Maroela Media earlier reported that this process was plunged into chaos and that several organizations had approached the Public Protector to investigate the system.
“The GDE is also working closely with schools in high-pressure areas to expand their classroom capacity to accommodate displaced learners,” the department’s statement states. “We have also identified several schools to whom we will provide mobile classrooms and will work with independent schools to take over the excess learners in public schools.”
Melanie Buys (left) of the SOS and Werner Human (right) outside the Gauteng Education Department. Photo: Reon Janse van Rensburg.
According to the statement, the department has also identified particular underpopulated single medium schools that will merge to establish new English schools in areas that have received excessively large numbers of applications. The department placed 94% (267,000) of learners in schools by Tuesday. The remaining 14 617 learners must be placed by the end of November.
Maroela Media reported on Tuesday that the GDE has so far only spent three-quarters of its infrastructure budget. This while thousands of learners struggle to find a place in schools in this province every year.
Melanie Buys, head of training at the School Support Center (SSC), says the department’s plans are “nonsensical”. “Schools cannot simply merge. It also does not help to plug schools that are already full to the point of being just fuller. ”
She says the SSC is aware of schools taking legal action because the department did not place learners who applied to the school in question. This while the school has room for these learners. Instead, the department has placed other learners, who live further away from the school and later applied to the school as other parents, at these schools.
“Several parents have also declared disputes with the department because their children have been placed in schools that are very far from their residential address, while the school closest to them has indicated that they can take the learner involved,” Buys says.
She advised schools and parents who are dissatisfied with the placings to immediately approach the SSC and declare a dispute with the department.