More parents are frustrated because their children who are supposed to start Grade 1 or Grade 8 are not yet admitted to schools for 2022. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
More parents are frustrated because their children who are supposed to start Grade 1 or Grade 8 are not yet admitted to schools for 2022. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Learner placement process for 2022 leaving Cape parents frustrated and feeling desperate

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Nov 23, 2021

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Cape Town - As the academic year comes to an end, more parents are frustrated because their children who are due to start Grade 1 or Grade 8 have not yet been admitted to schools for 2022.

Parent Monique Currie from Lotus River, whose child was rejected by eight schools, wrote to the Cape Argus in September. After describing her frustrations, she again wrote to the paper on Monday.

“There has still not been any progress on my son’s Grade 8, 2022 high school placement," she said.

Currie said she received an email from an administrator at the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) in Mitchells Plain district, who referred her to another person who could help.

“She approached the person but has still not had feedback.

“Final exams have begun and this has really put my current pressures on overdrive,” she said.

A group called Parents for Equal Education SA says parents are no longer frustrated, they are desperate, and it has predicted that they will again have thousands of unplaced learners in the Western Cape.

The WCED has an admissions portal where parents apply online, and parents are encouraged to apply to at least five schools.

Once the application deadline is reached, applications are reviewed and feedback is given to parents on whether their child is accepted or a school is “oversubscribed” – another way of saying the application has been rejected.

Currie said she had followed the WCED online application process and applied at eight schools instead of five, to be on the safe side, but still her son was rejected.

WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the WCED was still in the process of completing placements for 2022.

“A big factor in placement is progression and promotion results. This can only happen at the end of the school year once the final assessment results for the year are finalised.”

She said that then determines who is promoted to the next grade, with some spaces being kept open for those that may not progress.

Once that is finalised schools can determine their final numbers for each grade, which can then assist with further placement.

“We understand that many parents are anxious if they have yet to confirm a place for their child. We are currently working on a management plan to place additional mobiles and teachers at schools in areas of demand. We are also liaising with schools to determine where additional learners can be placed,” she said.

ANC provincial spokesperson on education, Khalid Sayed, said they have been inundated with cries for help from parents who have applied timeously, yet their children have not been placed, and they get late responses from schools.

Sayed said there are thousands of learners who have not been placed in schools for the 2022 academic year.

“We are awaiting a response from the MEC to a written question we submitted on this matter.

“We have been raising the challenges regarding the online application system and we have called for a uniform admissions policy for all schools in the province, where former model C schools are not treated like islands,” he said.

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