School admission just a click away

Parents enrolling their children at public schools in Gauteng no longer have to wait in long queues.

Parents can now apply to government schools using their smartphones or by simply clicking on a link on the Gauteng department of education's website. Thanks to the savvy application, parents will be able to check the status of their application and receive e-mail or SMS notification on the status of their application.

Registration for admissions for next year opened on Monday.

The department's spokeswoman, Phumla Sekhonyane, said: "Parents don't have to take a day off work to go to school to register their children, they can simply go on their smartphones and register."

She said once parents went online, they would be able to view all schools in their area of work or residence.

According to the department's admission policy, preference is given to pupils who reside in the area where the school is located or whose parents work in the vicinity of the school.

"Next year we cannot guarantee that you will get space in Gauteng (if you don't apply on time) because it results in poor planning and overspending by the department. We have to hire teachers, buy furniture and we have to ensure that we have extra classes and all of that cost money," said Sekhonyane.

Sowetan reported last year that parents desperate to get their children into certain schools in the province were even faking addresses so that their children can get space at those schools.

Sekhonyane said the online application system would also assist in identifying parents who had applied at more than one school, therefore blocking space for other pupils.

However, parents who still want to apply manually can do so, and the application forms would be captured onto the electronic application.

Mpho Ramasike, secretary general of the National Association of Parents in School Governance, said the body's only concern was whether the department had the capacity to administer the system.

However, he said the association welcomed the system and had tasked about 100 of their members to train parents who were not technologically savvy on how to use the online service.

The new application system was launched by Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi yesterday.

Visit za for online applications