Parents, learners scratch their heads as academic year in Pta starts on a ‘sour note’

This has seen parents scratching their heads for answers as schools re-open for the new academic year on Wednesday 12.

With MEC of Education in Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi, been caught with ‘pants down’ as a result, parents and learners are yet to find a solution.

The affected schools are mainly in the suburbs were most parents reside.

Some have complaint that the system has allocated their children as far as 30km away from their residency.

Meanwhile, Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga said that the department was exploring how to return normality to schooling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

She gave a briefing on Tuesday on the readiness of government schools for the new academic year.

Schools in inland provinces reopen on Wednesday, while pupils in the rest of the country go back to class from next week.

“Schools will remain the same, especially on the rotational timetable where it is applicable when schooling concluded in 2021. The fact of the matter is that COVID-19 is still very much with us and we need to continue to work to fight it,” Minister Motshekga said.

With children aged 12 and older eligible for their COVID-19 vaccination shot, it’s hoped that normalcy will gradually return to the education sector this year.

The minister said that for now, inoculations would not be offered at schools.

“We have not put mechanisms for vaccination programmes in schools. It’s a programme that we’re going to work on with MECs and SGBs to make sure that if there are vaccinations in schools that there are certain protocols that we follow,” the minister said.

There are also thousands of children who haven’t been placed in schools in Mpumalanga, the North West, Gauteng and Limpopo.

Motshekga said that they would provide the necessary support to ensure that all children were accommodated.

“And we have to say upfront, we have been able to place the majority of our learners, but provinces like Gauteng, partly the Western Cape, some areas in KZN, in your urban areas like Durban, we are still dealing with some problems, but provinces have assured us that they are doing everything in their power,” she said.

The department also announced the scrapping of publishing of matric results in newspapers and on digital platforms.

Education authorities said that they recognised the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), which came into effect last year in July.

The department said that it respected the right to privacy to protect against unlawful collection, retention, dissemination and use of personal information.

This brings to an end a practice that spanned many years, where the whole country had access to the results of matriculants.

Identity numbers and the exam numbers of pupils were published.

The 2021 matric results are due to be announced on 20 January.

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