Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says while there’s been an improvement in attendance. Over 53 000 learners have been unaccounted for since schools reopened and they’re presumed to have dropped out.

He was speaking at the Provincial Command Council briefing on COVID-19.

Lesufi says some parents have resolved that their children will repeat their current grade in 2021 and this will clog the system in 2021.

He has appealed to parents to ensure that their children return to school to complete the academic year.

“It means we need to extend the class size, get additional teachers, get additional textbooks, additional furniture. So, it’s not good for our school system. We can still finish the academic year this year. The second issue is indeed the fear of COVID-19. Out of the 53 000, majority is your Grade R, Grade RR, and Grade 1s. There are some parents that believe if a Grade 1 is not at school, what is that child missing, to say a, e, i, o u or sleeping or dancing or other things? They forget that that’s the basic of education actually.”

Lesufi says learners who have dropped out of school in 2020 will have to repeat the grade in 2021.

Basic Education concerned about the number of learners not back in school: 

Gauteng has recorded an 18% school drop-out rate this year with the highest impact being in Grade R. This has been blamed on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lesufi has urged parents to ensure that their children attend school.

“We are going to have an unprecedented number of drop-out this year and that is worrying. We don’t have pass-one-pass-all and we can’t encourage that. If people have dropped out, they will have to come back. If they come back, they will have to repeat the grade. If means there are some grades where we will have to expand the classes because we will have additional numbers. And that is why we are urging parents that please ensure you children come back so that we don’t have this problem next year.”

Gauteng Provincial Command Council updates on COVID-19 in the province: