Hun­dreds of NC pupils still to be placed

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - BENIDA PHILLIPS STAFF RE­PORTER

WITH 450 pupils in the North­ern Cape still wait­ing to hear if they have a place at school next year, the pro­vin­cial De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion has urged par­ents to be pa­tient un­til the end of the month.

A num­ber of par­ents have ex­pressed con­cern that their chil­dren have still not been al­lo­cated places at school next year.

A mother of a pupil who is sup­posed to start high school next year de­scribed the wait­ing process as frus­trat­ing.

“It is al­most the end of the year and schools are go­ing to close soon, but my child still does not have a school to at­tend af­ter her ap­pli­ca­tion to two high schools in Kim­ber­ley were re­jected,” the mother said.

“My daugh­ter is start­ing Grade 8 next year but we still have no clue which school she will at­tend. I ap­plied at North­ern Cape High School and Girls’ High School but both high schools re­jected her ap­pli­ca­tion. I then ap­proached the de­part­ment and ap­plied for al­ter­na­tive place­ment af­ter the rea­sons for the re­jec­tion stated that my child did not meet the spec­i­fied cri­te­ria stip­u­lated on the form.

“Among the re­quire­ments were that the ap­pli­cant had to have a sib­ling at­tend­ing the school, stay close to the school or have a par­ent who is em­ployed at the school. I ex­plained that the two schools were the clos­est to my home and that my other child is al­ready study­ing at univer­sity.

“This is so frus­trat­ing to be in dark about where my child we go next year.”

An­other par­ent said that she was also un­sure about the out­come of her ap­peal.

“My child is sup­posed to start Grade R next year and I still do not know which school she will at­tend af­ter I ap­pealed the out­come of the ap­pli­ca­tions. I ap­plied at four pri­mary schools and all of them re­jected me. I only have one child and we stay in the CBD.

“I ap­plied at all the schools clos­est to me yet they all re­jected my ap­pli­ca­tion. I do not un­der­stand what ra­dius the de­part­ment uses to cal­cu­late the dis­tance of a pupil’s home to the school.

“What is wor­ri­some is that some par­ents have al­ready made the nec­es­sary prepa­ra­tions for next year and have pur­chased the child’s school uni­form al­ready, yet some of us still don’t know whether our ap­peals were suc­cess­ful,” she said.

Spokesper­son for the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Ge­of­frey van der Merwe, said yes­ter­day they are in the process of fi­nal­is­ing the ap­peal process.

“We can con­firm that we have re­ceived 163 ap­peals for the 2018 pupil ad­mis­sions . . . 287 are ap­pli­ca­tions for al­ter­na­tive place­ment which were sub­mit­ted at the Dis­trict Of­fice. Cur­rently, every­thing is on track in terms of our man­age­ment plan to place these pupils be­fore the end of Novem­ber.

“The ap­peals that were lodged were mostly for Grade R and Grade 8. We will com­mu­ni­cate in writ­ing to par­ents who have sub­mit­ted ap­peals to in­form them about the out­come of their ap­peal.

“We can as­sure all par­ents that ev­ery pupil will be placed at a school. Un­for­tu­nately we can­not guar­an­tee a school of pref­er­ence,” said Van der Merwe.

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