Sisters Deema Salman (starting Grade 7 at Berea West Senior Primary School) and Wafaa Salman (in Grade 12 at Westville Girls’ High School) did their school uniform shopping at Gem School Wear in Overport on Monday.Picture by Sibonelo Ngcobo
Durban - Some pupils will not be in the classroom ready to begin lessons at the ring of the first bell tomorrow as their parents were still searching for schools in which to enrol them.

Some parents admitted to the Daily News that they had left their children's enrolment to the last minute, while others said their applications, despite being submitted in April last year, were declined.

Vuyo Blose, from Pinetown, said she had lost hope that her son would be in class on the first day of school tomorrow.

She said her 7-year-old son, who would start Grade 1, was not accepted last April at a primary school 2km away from her home.

No reason was given, she claimed.

Blose said she applied at another school about 4km away, but was again unsuccessful because she was told the school was already full.

She felt it was unfair on her son because she had begun her applications early.

Yesterday, Blose travelled to schools outside Pinetown in Kloof and Hillcrest to enrol her child - without any joy. She was placed on the schools’ waiting lists.

“I have lost hope. I will be left with no choice but to send him to stay with relatives should he get space in a school in Kloof or Hillcrest.

"I wanted him to be closer to home because as a single parent I can’t afford for him to travel far. But now I don’t have a choice. He will have to go to wherever I get a space,” she said.

Another parent, Thokozane Sibiya, said his daughter was refused a place at two schools in the Durban city centre because he had not applied on time.

He was now checking at schools in KwaMashu. If unsuccessful, his daughter would be at home on Wednesday instead of enjoying her first day at school.

He preferred sending his daughter to a former Model C high school because the high schools in KwaMashu did not have resources.

“I wanted a better education for my daughter.

"As much as a local township school would have been more convenient as it's closer to home, what is important for me is the quality of education,” he said.

Provincial Education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana wanted pupils in class and teachers teaching on the first day of school.

He said the department had adequately planned to ensure that there were no major glitches on the first day of school.

He said this was done by distributing textbooks and stationery in October last year.

“We are confident that the year will kick off smoothly.

"We are, however, aware of parents who suddenly decided a few days before schools re-opened that they wanted their children to go to a certain school, without making the application and they demand a space.

“Such parents would be demanding space not because they relocated and therefore would need a school in the area.

"In most cases it is more of a ‘school of want, not a school of need’. This creates problems that prohibits classes from starting on day one,” said Mthethwa.

He said all schools in the province were equipped to deliver quality education.

“We discourage parents from sending their children to schools where the fees are exorbitant and then later they fail to pay the fees. As much as parents have the right to send their children to schools of their choice, they should consider the distance travelled and the costs involved,” said Mthethwa.

Daily News