With schools reopening on Monday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has revealed there were still thousands of pupils were still waiting to be placed.
Addressing the media on Sunday Afternoon, Motshekga said the demand for space in schools, especially for Grades 1 and 8, remains a challenge.
“All provinces, are experiencing a high demand in particular areas,” she said.
While the provinces had made good progress in placements, there are still 16,117 learners awaiting placements in schools.
The Council of Education Ministers (CEM) met on Saturday where the matter of school admission was identified as critical.
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The CEM appealed to parents and guardians to cooperate with officials at the district level, to accelerate the placement process.
Three weeks ago, the minister announced the phasing-in of the reopening of schools for the 2021 year following the outbreak of the second wave of Covid-19.
School Management Teams were allowed to return to school on 25 January while teachers returned on 1 February.
Motshekga said the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations saw more than a million candidates sitting for their matric exams.
“We must say, that the exams were administered well, barring a few glitches here and there.”
Motshekga announced the department is on schedule for the release of the 2020 NSC exam results on 22 February 2021. The results will be made public on 23 February.
A report on the progress of the investigations into exam irregularities will be released later today.
Regarding the payment of school fees during the Covid-19 pandemic, the minister explained there are two types of public schools in the country: fee-paying schools and no-fee paying schools.
“Fee-paying schools are allowed to charge school fees, as determined at the Annual General Meeting of the School Governing Body. Therefore, the payment of school fees in such schools is mandatory.”
The Governing Bodies have the authority to enforce parents to pay school fees through legal means.
“The liability of parents is determined through an affordability formula, which can be used to determine whether a parent can be exempted partially or fully from paying school fees.”
She noted the impact of the coronavirus continues to be felt in the basic education sector.
“The latest available figures indicate that 1,169 educators have passed away, as a direct result of Covid-19,” Motshekga said.
“This is heart-breaking, and we convey our sincere condolences to the affected families.”