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Perivale pupils attend assembly on the first day of school. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER
Perivale pupils attend assembly on the first day of school. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ESA ALEXANDER

The Gauteng department of education is like the Titanic after hitting the iceberg. It is slowly sinking. Many of its troubles can be traced back to 2016, when captain and MEC Panyaza Lesufi launched his now infamous online application system with much fanfare.

Some of the reasons advanced to justify moving to an online system were that it was convenient and easy to access and enabled planning and fair distribution of pupils across the province’s education system.

Fast-forward to 2022, and the system has become a nightmare for frustrated parents and school management. The same chaos plays itself out every year, with the department running out of excuses as to why the system is not working. The system crashes because it doesn’t have sufficient capacity and pupils are placed late in schools, often far from where they reside.

It’s a mess. The district offices have become an annual pilgrimage for angry and desperate parents looking for schools for their children. As if that’s not enough, the district offices have no idea what’s going on on the ground, which leads to some schools being overpopulated and resources not being spread evenly.

Taking the system online did not address the province’s deep-rooted education problems. For many years township parents have been abandoning the schools in their neighbourhoods and opting to send their children to schools in the suburbs. As a result, many townships schools have either shut down or stand empty, while suburban schools are crumbling because they’re over-populated.

How much longer will Lesufi be content to preside over a broken system? 

Uhuru Samuel

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an e-mail with your comments to letters@businesslive.co.za. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.​


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