DELAYS IN SCHOOL PLACEMENTS DEFENDED
Makhura says all pupils will be placed
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.
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.