NATIONAL NEWS - Gauteng department of education (GDE) MEC Panyaza Lesufi has expressed worry over the anticipated reaction of parents over a newly entered provisional agreement with Curro Schools to accommodate children that have not yet been placed in public schools, reports Midrand Reporter.
Lesufi recently announced during a press briefing that Curro Schools has opened its doors to the department to utilise its classrooms to accommodate children as placement of learners continues across the province.
He said this was a result of a high volume of applicants in some schools leading to the department resorting to an extension of classes.
However, due to the recent school holidays, the identified schools could not secure mobile classes and extra resources on time.
“To mitigate to capacity challenges, we are administrative, finalising a partnership with Curro to accommodate our children at their schools. My worry is that I don’t know how parents will react to this agreement,” said Lesufi.
Lesufi said when approaching Curro, the department considered their fee structure compared to that of the public schools. He said parents who consider the arrangement, would get a 30% discount on fees.
However, The Star reported on Thursday that Curro denied that an agreement with the GDE had been settled, and that talks regarding student admissions were ongoing.
Curro Holdings head of marketing and communications, Mari Lategan, told the publication that the fees would remain, and would not be aligned to public school fees.
Lategan added that prospective students would still have to meet the criteria of Curro Schools in order to be accepted, and that this process was also still being discussed with the department.
An announcement on how the GDE will be using Curro schools to house students that have not yet been placed is expected soon.
The department is also reportedly considering the possibility of using scholar transport, due to the distance between the Curro schools and public schools.
“Parents should still be given an option through negotiations, as some of the learners were placed in primary schools based on the parents’ work address in the previous dispensation of regulations. We are also interacting with other private schools to assist us. Indeed, we are indebted to Curro for the willingness to assist in this quagmire.”
Lesufi said the department had been experiencing challenges with parents who rejected schools offered to their children for placement. For the current admission year, the department received 700 appeals from parents who were unhappy about the schools offered.
Lesufi also said that there were serious capacity challenges in districts including Tshwane West, Tshwane South, Johannesburg Central, Johannesburg East, Johannesburg North and Ekurhuleni South.
“We are finalising the process of providing temporary accommodation in a form of mobile units at some affected schools as a matter of urgency, this will also be extended to some schools that were vandalised or burned by the community.”