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No Pupils Will Be Sent Home, Lesufi Promises

No Pupils Will Be Sent Home, Lesufi Promises…  Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says while overcrowding remains an issue in some schools, no pupils will be sent home.

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No Pupils Will Be Sent Home, Lesufi Promises

 

A total of 38 schools are on rotational learning, mainly due to overcrowding.

Addressing media on Monday, Lesufi said his department would eliminate rotational learning and increase learning time for Grade 12s in line with the 2022 academic calendar.

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“We are aware of the campaign and protests and many people complaining about overcrowding in our schools. We have taken a conscious decision that every learner supposed to be at school must be in a classroom, regardless of the size of classrooms.

“We will never turn a learner back on the basis that our classrooms are full. We will tackle the issues of overcrowding while learners are within the classroom learning rather than staying at home doing nothing,” said Lesufi.

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Last week, parents at Finetown Secondary School in Johannesburg shut down the school, citing overcrowding in container classrooms which were falling apart, News24 reported.

The decision to allow all children back to school had resulted in a shortage of classrooms, furniture and learning materials, said Lesufi.

“However, our position is clear: allow our children to be at school learning rather than staying at home waiting for mobile classrooms. This is crucial for us and we hope parents will understand. Whose child must remain at home while other children are at school learning?” he asked.

The Covid-19 pandemic had shown the need to intensify development and maintenance of school infrastructure. The department was responsible for more than 2,200 schools — 80% of which were built after 1994.

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The department had enough budget to respond to the increasing maintenance demands and at the same time cater for new schools.

“In the 2022/2023 financial year the department anticipates adding a further 400 refurbished smart classrooms where it will roll out smart technologies to township high schools.

“The department is working with the department of infrastructure development and other implementing agencies to accelerate the delivery of new schools and is also working with the Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency to gear alternate funding to deliver additional schools to meet demand.”

Of the R59.7bn budget for 2022/2023, the compensation of employees remains the largest expense, amounting to R42bn, or 70.8% of the budget.

“This budget will assist us to immediately tackle all the challenges, especially those that were created by Covid-19-related matters, such as overcrowding, lack of infrastructure, sanitisation and vandalism that we experienced during this period.”

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The budget will focus on:

  • public special school education — R4.8bn;
  • infrastructure development — R1.7bn
  • examination and education-related services — R2.7bn;
  • independent school subsidies — R1bn; and
  • early childhood development — R1.9bn.

 

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