Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Education on Wednesday said that 20 000 Grade 11 pupils had been trained on its K53 Driver Instructor Programme, and about 2 000 were tested for their learners licenses. 

Spokesperson Steve Mabona said that the K53 Learner Driver Programme aimed at empowering pupils in grade 11 to obtain K53 learners licenses at no cost to them.

"There is some misplaced misconception that the objective of the programme is to provide driving licenses to pupils," Mabona said. "Ultimately, the responsibility to register for and obtain a driving license rests with the pupil. The project would have assisted by providing a learners license free of charge."

Mabona said that the project was a joint initiative between the Gauteng education department and the Gauteng roads and transport department, with the main objective being to develop pupils and provide them with critical life skills as part of youth empowerment. 

'It also aimed at promoting road safety and awareness among Grade 11 learners.'

The department said to date the achievements of the programme also included 222 certified instructors being employed and dispatched to different schools, to conduct necessary training and assist pupils to write learner license tests at different testing stations.

"It is incumbent upon the pupil to apply for a drivers’ license as soon as they obtain a learners license," Mabona said.
 
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said, “We did not promise to offer driving licenses to pupils, but committed to assist Grade 11 pupils to attain learner licenses in all non-fee paying schools in Gauteng.”