Johannesburg - Educationists and political parties have welcomed the decision of the Gauteng Department of Education to announce the opening of the 2024 online admissions this month rather than in July.
Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane is scheduled to announce the commencement and process of the 2024 online admissions for Grade 1 and Grade 8 on Sunday at Rand Park High School in Randpark Ridge.
Unisa education expert Prof Moeketsi Letseka described the decision to announce the commencement this month as a “risk management initiative”, saying the education authorities were trying to improve efficiency of the system.
Letseka said in the past the placement was announced later in the year and in most cases it was heavily affected by glitches which bore heavily on the parents who were uncertain whether their children had secured placements.
“By announcing the placement now, I think the intention is to deal with the technical glitches early. These glitches were a reflection of inefficiency in the system. It left a lot of parents in limbo. Now, they will have enough time to deal with the glitches and to place learners at different schools early before the start of the academic year,” Letseka said.
He said it was a demonstration of efficiency, saying no children would be left behind,
“It is a way of refining the process. This was started by Panyaza Lesufi. Now the new MEC is improving on the strategy,” he said.
Equally excited was the DA in Gauteng, that had earlier this month condemned Chiloane for allegedly delaying making the announcement. In condemning Chiloane, the DA’s Education spokesperson, Khume Ramulifho, said failing to fast-track the opening of the 2024 online admissions would result in another disastrous late placement saga.
At the time, he said Chiloane must learn from his Western Cape and Limpopo counterparts who had already started preparing for the 2024 academic year.
“Failure to open online registration timeously has created the same problems for learners, guardians, parents, and teachers year after year.
“The delays in opening the online admission system have left thousands of learners unplaced and missing much-needed school time. In addition, the schools will be dumped with learners they are unable to accommodate, resulting in overcrowding in classrooms due to poor planning of the department,” Ramulifho said.
But he changed his tune this week, saying his party welcomed the announcement on the opening of the 2024 online admissions processes.
“This follows the DA’s pressure on the Gauteng Department of Education to open the 2024 online admissions for grades 1 and 8 earlier in April to ensure that all learners are allocated to schools before the start of the new academic year.
“Despite the delays in opening the system, we are looking forward to a user-friendly and transparent process to allow guardians and parents to choose schools of their preferred choice for their children,” Ramulifho said.
He said this was an important process in the education system because it prepares learners to start primary and secondary school in Grades 1 and 8 next year.
“The DA proposes that the online admission system be reviewed before the commencement of the process to ensure fairness and transparency. The system must allow parents to rank schools from 1-5 based on their preferences.
“The MEC must outline how the department will ensure that all learners are allocated to schools before the commencement of the new academic year. We also demand proper planning and resource allocations to our schools before the 2024 academic year begins,” he said.
Ramulifho said his party urges all parents and guardians to apply for their children on time to avoid late placement, saying they would monitor this process and avail themselves to assist parents when experiencing any challenges.