The online application process for next year is turning into a potential disaster as the WCED sits with more than 85000 unconfirmed school applications. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)/ Archive
Cape Town - The online application process for grades 1 and 8 for next year is turning into a potential disaster as Education MEC Debbie Schäfer admitted that there were still more than 85000 applications where parents had not yet confirmed their choices.

“This means the application was successful, but the parent has not indicated their final choice on the system,” Schäfer said.

Parents have until Thursday to confirm placement at their schools of choice. If they do not confirm their choice, the Western Cape Education Department will allocate the first place where their application was successful.

A senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University’s department of education policy studies, Nuran Davids, said: “The problem lies in the assumptions that the department made that most parents in the province were not just literate in that they can read and write, but that they are digitally literate and can navigate their way through the application forms online.

“The other assumption is that the typical mother in the province has access to the internet. How many mothers in the province really have the sort of access to the internet that you need for these applications and also how do they access the internet?”

Speaking about some of the more common problems that applicants have come up against, Schäfer said that mostly, parents who only applied to one school expected a positive response.

“We have said a number of times that parents need to apply at a number of schools as we cannot guarantee placement at a school of choice.

“The third term of the academic year is one of the most important terms for our learners, educators and officials as it is one when important examinations and tests take place. It is also a time when our officials take on the mammoth task of ensuring that the department is prepared for the start of the 2020 academic year by finalising and processing last- minute admissions.”

According to Schäfer, by confirming applications now, it will allow the department to determine where spaces have opened at schools.

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Cape Argus