Long queues as parents demand school places for children
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Pretoria - Hundreds of guardians and parents yesterday were up at dawn to queue at Thuto Thebe Primary School in Zone 1, Ga-Rankuwa, hoping for placement of their children.
The parents, some of whom said they had been waiting since 3am, were hoping to get their children placed ahead of the start of the 2022 academic year tomorrow.
By midday, Tumisang Rahlogo, whose daughter is set to start Grade 1, said she had been waiting for more than 12 hours but had yet to be assisted.
Rahlogo said her daughter had been placed in a school in Soshanguve by the Gauteng Department of Education.
She said she had no idea where that school was located.
“My daughter has been admitted to Sokhela Primary School, which I have never heard of, but believe it is somewhere in Soshanguve. I cannot allow her to go there as I have no idea how she would make it to and from school every day.
“Why did they not place her around our area, because where I am staying we have a nearby school that is 3km away?
“They said they will help us when they got here early in the morning, but even now many of us are not assisted,“ the frustrated mother said.
“I do not think we will get assisted today. Since last year, we have been waiting and schools will be opened on Wednesday. What about my child?”
Rahlogo said the Department of Education had failed parents and learners dismally as it has caused so much inconvenience by placing them anywhere and everywhere, with no idea of distance and convenience.
“We are struggling with the new system. Why not bring back the old system for applications because this online system is not working for us.”
The department said it had prioritised 866 appeals by parents who were not satisfied with the offers they had received. It promised them outcomes by yesterday.
MEC Panyaza Lesufi pleaded with parents to remain patient as officials were working tirelessly to place all learners as soon as possible.
The provincial department’s online admissions system for Grade 1s and 8s has been fraught with problems since its adoption in 2016.
By yesterday morning, close on 1 500 Grade 1s and 8s had not been placed.
The DA urged Lesufi to ensure that all learners were placed before schools opened.
“It is extremely regrettable that parents are not sure whether their children will be placed; they are unable to buy uniforms, arrange transport where needed and buy stationery.”
The DA said it would be proposing that online applications be opened before May and concluded before September to ensure that all learners were placed before the schools reopen.