Struggle to find placement for grade 1, 8 learners

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Education and youth development MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
Education and youth development MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has extended the deadline to finalise school placement for learners starting grades one and eight next year to 30 November 2019.

This after many parents had to queue the entire day yesterday at various department district offices to ensure admission for their children ahead of the 2020 school year.

Despite having initiated its online registration system back in 2015, the GDE always seems to encounter challenges concerning timeous placement of learners getting ready for grades one and eight.

The pupils in these two grades make up the group of learners whose parents were required to apply via the GDE's online registration system for their preferred school.

So far, the GDE says the number of placed learners now stands at 241 806, representing 85.5% of total applications received. Of the number placed, 131 383 are grade one learners and 110 423 grade eight learners.

Despite increasing the number of placed learners, the department still has to find schools for 34 553 learners whose parents have not yet received an offer of placement or whose application status has been pending for a while.

“For this, the department sincerely apologises and undertakes to place these learners. Parents facing this situation will receive SMS offers of placement. Parents are urged to either confirm or decline the offer within seven days of receiving the offer. Otherwise the offer will be forfeited.

“Places in Gauteng schools are in demand due to the constant annual increase in learner numbers. The department is administering the 2020 admission process under the new Regulations and Feeder Zones Policy.

“A parent can apply at any school but placement depends ultimately on available space and capacity of the school. Capacity of the school is a function of the size of the school and the number of current grades one and eight learners that have been retained or do not pass to the higher grades.”

The department opened its online registration portal on 20 May 2019 and parents were granted seven additional days to submit documents until 22 July 2019. During this time, the GDE says a total of 310 350 applications were made for the two grades.

The GDE also indicates that despite efforts to communicate timeously, there is still a problem that some parents did not respond to offers of placement or do not/have not submitted documents.

To date, 6 428 parents have not responded to the requirement to respond to offers of placement within seven days. The number of parents that have not submitted or do not have documents are 27 563.

Education and youth development MEC Panyaza Lesufi comments: “I am confident that the department will and can deal with the backlog. Once more, we apologise for the inconvenience caused to parents. Parents that have used the system are also recognised as our warriors for change and we are eternally indebted for their support and positive response. Your concerns and feedback is highly appreciated and will be used to improve the online system.”

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