It is a scandal of titanic proportions that, year after year, pupils who were due to return to classrooms in Gauteng on the first day of school are left in the lurch by seemingly inadequate registration systems.
Earlier this week, the provincial education department admitted that the much-vaunted online registration had suffered a breakdown under the pressure of applications from parents desperate to find their children a classroom, admitting at the same time that 58 000 would-be learners were left in limbo.
The department, true to form, attempted to shift some of the blame on a late registration rush causing an overload on the network. It is a pointless exercise to go this accusatory route. That the last-minute crush was a contributory factor cannot be totally discounted, but it must also be noted that little seems to have improved significantly from the chaos of last January.
There is also no denying that the countrywide diaspora has Gauteng at its epicentre and that schools – and ultimately places at planned but largely yet to be built facilities – should struggle to keep up with the demand.
We have said this in the past, but some reasoned thought should be going into administering the whole education process, not surely the type of ad hoc crisis management that passes as the norm.
Adding to the impact is an overstretched tertiary education system already under pressure from increasing demands for free university education and a more than generously low pass-mark decision which seems designed more for shuffling kids helter-skelter along an educational conveyor belt than in a determined thrust to impart lasting knowledge.
We must do better than this for our children. Our ethics should dictate this, as should the not-inconsequential matter of a constitution that offers no excuses, but guarantees our kids a classroom.