- Schools across all nine provinces in South Africa are gearing up for the new academic year starting on 10 January
- Before then, parents and guardians are being encouraged to ensure they have already applied to have their children placed
- Late applications and requests for placements remain one of the biggest challenges facing the Department of Basic Education
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JOHANNESBURG - South African parents and guardians are being urged to prioritise getting their children into school on time across all nine provinces as the start of the 2022 academic year draws closer.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) warned that those who haven't secured school placement will struggle when the new academic year gets underway next week.
Learners and educators in inland provinces – Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West – will make their way back to the classroom on Monday, 10 January and Wednesday, 12 January, respectively.
Learners in coastal provinces – Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal – will make their way back a week later, TimesLIVE reported. Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said applications for admission at the eleventh hour remains a contentious issue at the start of every year.
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Limited capacity a challenge
"We have 20 000 to 30 000 parents of new learners who bring their children to school at the beginning of every year without having applied. This results in a problem that the education systems in all nine provinces are not able to handle," explained Mhlanga.
According to SABC News, school admissions start much earlier in the year to give parents enough time to gather the relevant documentation needed to apply. However, other parents reject taking their children to the schools offered to them, more so in Gauteng, where the DBE experiences one of its biggest capacity challenges.
Learners urged to get their jabs
In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the Omicron variant, Mhlanga encouraged learners who are 12 and older to get vaccinated, with the Department of Health previously stating that children in this age group do not require parental consent to get vaccinated.
"As many learners as possible need to get vaccinated to help to stabilise the system. We're satisfied that staff and teachers in the public schooling system have received their jabs. The focus is now on learners who are 12 to 17-years-old and above to get vaccinated," said Mhlanga.
Schools ready to kick start 2022 academic year
Elsewhere, Briefly News reported that Mhlanga affirmed the state of readiness report was complied and delivered last year and it is all systems go ahead of the start to the school year.
Mhlanga told SABC News that the department wants to focus on curriculum coverage in 2022. He said he believes schools will be able to go through the entire syllabus, unlike last year when schools only reopened in February due to Covid-19.
Mhlanga emphasised the need for parents and guardians to apply for placements in time, adding that Gauteng and the Western Cape have historically had a challenge with school placements.
"As of last year, Gauteng has said they have placed all of them [learners] but we know that there are still some challenges in that regard," said Mhlanga.
Source: Briefly News