Gauteng scrambles to place 17 000 learners

Read time 2min 10sec
The online admissions system was initiated to handle large volumes of applications.
The online admissions system was initiated to handle large volumes of applications.

Gauteng is scrambling to place about 17 000 learners in the province, with schools set to open tomorrow.

Although the online applications system is now in its third year, it appears the timeous placement of learners is still a challenge for the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE).

Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson at the Department of Basic Education, told 702 approximately 17 000 children across Gauteng still need placement, as school gates prepare to reopen.

In a statement last year, the GDE said 25 913 learners needing to start grade one and 28 860 learners for grade eight needed to be placed in public schools before the start of the 2019 school year.

The online admissions system was initiated to handle large volumes of applications, as well as to allow for a transparent and fair school application process for those learners starting grades one and eight.

Meanwhile, opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) has issued a statement calling on Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to urgently conclude the placement of all learners who applied last year for school admission, before the start of the 2019 academic year.

"The DA has been inundated with calls from parents who are still uncertain as to where their children will be placed," says Khume Ramulifho, the DA's Gauteng spokesperson on access to jobs and education.

"The department has failed to place all learners who applied for placement prior to October last year. This delay is causing uncertainty among parents who want to buy school uniforms and stationery before they go back to work, as well as budget for school transport.

"The much vaunted online application system should have helped the department to place learners and allocate resources. However, this has not been the case."

The DA is calling for the department to take all possible measures to avoid last year's crisis, where the Human Rights Commission was asked to intervene as learners weren't placed by the end of February.

"This cannot be repeated; all learners must start with their lessons on day one of the 2019 academic year so as not to be disadvantaged going forward," Ramulifho says.

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