DE­LAYS IN SCHOOL PLACE­MENTS DE­FENDED

Makhura says all pupils will be placed

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - KHAYA KOKO AND TE­BOGO MONAMA

DE­SPITE the snaking queues of par­ents seek­ing school place­ments for their chil­dren at Gaut­eng district of­fices, Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Panyaza Le­sufi has de­fended the prov­ince’s on­line ap­pli­ca­tion sys­tem.

The Gaut­eng Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Johannesburg Cen­tral District of­fice, in Soweto, was for the third day in a row filled with frus­trated par­ents who were des­per­ate to find schools for their chil­dren – de­spite yes­ter­day be­ing the first day of the school year.

These were par­ents or guardians of chil­dren seek­ing places in grades 1 or 8 who ei­ther didn’t use the depart­ment’s on­line ap­pli­ca­tion sys­tem or ap­plied late for place­ment.

Le­bo­hang Mapotje of Protea South, Soweto, said she didn’t make use of the on­line ap­pli­ca­tion sys­tem be­cause her six-yearold daugh­ter at­tended Grade R at Dikha­bane Pri­mary School, and she thought the child would get au­to­matic place­ment in Grade 1 at the school.

Mapotje, who was with her daugh­ter in the queue, said she hoped her child would get a place at Dikha­bane be­cause a good Sa­mar­i­tan had bought her daugh­ter a uni­form for that school, adding she could not af­ford to buy an­other school’s uni­form should her child be placed else­where.

“My neighbour’s em­ployer asked my neighbour to ask around in our com­mu­nity whether there are un­em­ployed par­ents who needed uni­forms for their chil­dren. My neighbour ap­proached me, and her em­ployer bought this uni­form,” she ex­plained.

“Now it’s go­ing to be a huge prob­lem if my child doesn’t go to Dikha­bane be­cause I don’t have money to buy uni­forms. My hus­band is also un­em­ployed. He gets odd jobs around the town­ship but makes around R100 per job, which goes to­wards buy­ing food for the fam­ily,” Mapotje added.

Speak­ing at the open­ing of the new Nomzamo Madik­izela-Man­dela Pri­mary School in Bram­fis­cherville yes­ter­day, Gaut­eng Premier David Makhura said the prov­ince strug­gled with late ap­pli­ca­tions ev­ery year be­cause of mi­gra­tion into the prov­ince.

“We are faced with a huge prob­lem be­cause of our suc­cess. There is a huge in­flux of mi­grant learn­ers who want to come to the prov­ince be­cause of the type of schools we are rolling out. Par­ents want their chil­dren to be in schools with good tech­nol­ogy.”

Makhura added all 40 000 pupils who had still not been placed would be placed in schools.

Gaut­eng ed­u­ca­tion spokesper­son Oupa Bodibe said the depart­ment had been strug­gling to place pupils be­cause some schools ran par­al­lel ad­mis­sion pro­cesses. “So this to and fro be­tween the district of­fices led to se­ri­ous de­lays,” Bodibe said.

Le­sufi de­fended the on­line ap­pli­ca­tion sys­tem, say­ing they would con­tinue with on­line ap­pli­ca­tions this year, for grades 1 and 8, for the 2018 aca­demic year.

SA Demo­cratic Teach­ers Union gen­eral sec­re­tary Mug­wena Maluleke said the union wel­comed the on­line ap­pli­ca­tions, but wanted to see “a con­certed, pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion ef­fort” to in­form par­ents of the sys­tem’s nu­ances.

He added that they were hopeful of re­solv­ing all “chal­lenges re­gard­ing ad­mis­sions by the end of next month”.

“You don’t have to be com­puter lit­er­ate to ap­ply on our on­line sys­tem. You can just go to your near­est school or a com­mu­nity li­brary and you will be as­sisted. The sys­tem is ef­fi­cient, it’s as­sist­ing us and it’s re­solv­ing a lot of human er­rors which were as­so­ci­ated with the pre­vi­ous sys­tem,” Le­sufi ex­plained.

Mean­while, in Tsh­wane, Hoërskool Mon­tana and Hoërskool Overkruin launched an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion in the high court in Pretoria try­ing to stop the ad­mis­sion of at least 350 pupils in their schools over their lan­guage pol­icy.

PIC­TURES:NOKUTHULA MBATHA AND TI­MOTHY BERNARD

NO, I WON’T GO: An MK veteran car­ries Grade 4 pupil Palesa Goba, 9, to class at the Nomzamo Madik­izela- Man­dela School in Bram­fis­cherville. She trans­ferred to the school this year and was cry­ing be­cause she wanted to go to her old school.

ALL CALM: A year ago on his first day at Mil­ner­ton Pri­mary School in El­do­rado Park, Keeran Buck­ley was cry­ing and kick­ing, right. How­ever, yes­ter­day he was the pic­ture of calm, left.

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