Picture: Pixabay

Johannesburg - The deadline for the 2019 academic year placements is looming large with 17445 parents in Gauteng still having not submitted their children’s documents. The provincial Department of Basic Education (DBE) extended the registration window from November28 to January 7.

Some parents blamed the online registration system for failing to register their children on time while others pleaded ignorance.

Sibongile Dube said she was surprised when the district office in Soweto told her to register online for her child to enrol for Grade 8 at Almont Technical School.

“I didn’t know about the online system. I was told to come to the district office to register my child online, and when I got there, I was told that the system was off-line. This was the fourth time I came here and they told me to come again on January 7,” said Dube, who urged the department to bring back the old walk-in system.

“It was better when we used to register our children at the schools because there was no confusion. This online system is a headache.”

James Makhuba, a principal at Unity Secondary School, questioned parents’ claims about the system. “The system is right. I think people who don’t know about the system come from other provinces and they don’t know how we work in Gauteng.

“And again, I believe this is because some parents have no access to television and radio, so they can’t adapt,” said Makhuba, also apportioning blame to parents’ lack of interest in their children’s education.

“Some parents don’t care about their children’s education while others will tell you that they have no information about the changes at schools.

“That is why they have failed to apply on time.”

Another parent, Nolutsha Gqibi-tole, who came from the Eastern Cape to register her children in one of the schools in Soweto, said she didn’t know about online registration.

“I wanted to register two children, one in Grade 1 and another in Grade5. But the schools I went to told me to register online,” said Gqibitole, adding that she had been trying to register her children since April without success.

“This online registration is a disaster. I wanted my child to go to the nearest school in Meyersdal, but according to the system, there is no space available in the area. And the sad part is that I registered last year in April. I don’t understand how this new system works,” she said.

DBE spokesperson Steve Mabona said they had done enough to spread the word about the system. “People can go to the districts on Monday so they can receive help,” he said.

Sunday Independent