The Education Department is still trying to place nearly 90000 learners, said MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Johannesburg - Parents who still want to submit late applications for the 2019 academic year in Gauteng will have to wait a little longer, as the Education Department is still trying to place nearly 90000 learners.
Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has said that even though they have already given placement offers to 193 587 Grade 1 and 8 learners, there was still a huge backlog of those who have not been placed.

“The department is doing everything necessary to work with speed in ensuring that all learners who applied during the application period, April 16 to May 28, 2018, for the 2019 learner intake are placed on time,” Lesufi said.

During the application period, the department processed 282 823 applicants. Of these, 149 461 were Grade 1s and 133 362 Grade 8s. So far 193 587 placement offers were made to applicants, and 74 421 of them had been accepted by Tuesday. Of these, 119 166 must be accepted by August 16.

If this deadline was not met, applicants risked losing their placements.

Lesufi said of those who have applied on time, 89 236 applicants had still not received placements, making it difficult for the department to open late applications.

The department stopped physical enrolment applications at schools about three years ago and instead opted for online applications.

According to parent Joy Maake, who applied for a Grade 1 placement for her son in Meadowlands, Soweto, the process had gone smoothly.

“The department has been very helpful. When I lost my password, I just rang the call centre and was helped really quickly. My son was placed at this school of choice,” she said.

Lesufi called for calm from those who have not yet been placed.

“The department appeals to parents to allow the placement process to run its course and assures parents that online applicants for Grade 1 and 8 that were received in April and May will be placed by the end of October,” he said.

The MEC assured parents that the department was working hard to place all learners who applied on time.

“The department is committed to ensuring that all learners are placed on time and receive quality basic education. Once more, we take this time to assure parents that all online applications for Grade 1 and 8 received in April and May will be placed,” he said.

Lesufi encouraged people to make inputs to the Draft Amendments to Admissions Regulations of Learners, which were published earlier this month.

The published amendments propose that public schools no longer discriminate against pupils on the basis of race, language, ethnicity, origin, culture, sexual orientation and HIV status.

In the amendment draft, Lesufi also recommended that a learner not be refused admission because the guardian was unable to pay or had not paid school fees. Schools would also not be allowed to discriminate against a learner who does not subscribe to its mission statement and code of conduct.

The public has until August 29 to comment.

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