Parents' mad dash to get kids placed at schools

Parents queue at the department of education offices in Ekurhuleni for placement of pupils. /ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Parents queue at the department of education offices in Ekurhuleni for placement of pupils. /ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Scores of frustrated parents queued outside Benoni education district offices yesterday, a day before the opening of schools, with the hope of getting placement for their children. Other parents queued outside district offices in Pretoria.

This as MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi announced that the department will open the system for late online applications today. He said they would close on January 24.

Some of these parents had used the Gauteng online system to apply for their children who are starting Grade 1 and Grade 8. Though the applications were opened and closed last year, the system has seen hundreds of children not being placed in schools on time.

Lerato Moahloli from Tembisa, who applied online, said she had chosen Bokamoso and Sedikeng secondary schools in May.

"After I did not get any response, I went to the schools and was told they couldn't find my child's details on the system. Now I have to deal with my child who is forever crying as she does not know what will happen to her when schools reopen.

"The online [application system] is not working for us. It was better when we would go to the school, we did not experience any problems. I have to buy school uniforms and pray that the school she will be accepted at will be closer to home," Moahloli said.

Mpho Mahlangu from Edenvale said he was confused as his child did his Grade RR and Grade R at Eastleigh Pre-Primary.

"I was told that I did not submit documents to the school applied for and my application was still pending.

"I have been sending e-mails with no luck. It's very frustrating because my son has been at the school for two years and now that he is supposed to start his Grade 1, we are having problems," he said.

Another parent, Gloria Manganye, said they were promised placement before the reopening of schools.

"I applied in five schools. The online application [system] is not working for us. It would have been better if I went to school to apply. Now I will be forced to take my child to a private school. It's really frustrating," Manganye said.

Lesufi said they are aware that some parents have lost hope and are angry at their officials at district offices.

"Some even resort to violence. The department is doing everything possible to accommodate all learners... We have received and processed about 700 appeals, which were compounded by implementation of the new admissions regulations," Lesufi said.

He said only schools with space will be available on the system during the late applications period.

"Applicants will provisionally be placed until they submit documents to the school accordingly. No objections or appeals will be entertained."

Lesufi added that according to their system, there were 912 primary schools and 374 high schools with space available for late applications.

The department also said it was "finalising a partnership with Curro (a company that operates several private schools in SA) to accommodate our children at their schools". - Additional Reporting by Kgaugelo Masweneng

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