Parents queue for school enrolments

2014-04-15 11:16

Johannesburg - Several Gauteng parents braved chilly weather in Pretoria and Johannesburg from the early hours of Tuesday morning to queue outside schools hoping to secure enrolments for their children.

At Hamilton Primary School, in Pretoria central, more than 100 parents began queuing from 04:00. All the parking spots outside the school were taken up by 06:00.

'It's tough being a parent'

Parent Isabel Chilembe said she was surprised to see the long queue when she arrived at 08:00.

"It's tough being a parent. The school gave us notice to say we can start submitting the applications from 08:00. I don't know why people came in the wee hours."

Abel Mkhize said he joined the queue shortly after 04:00, hoping to get his 6-year-old daughter a place alongside her sibling.

"I think it is much better for us as parents if our kids attend the same school. It would be hectic having to drive to different schools transporting the children in the massive Pretoria central traffic."

There were also queues at several other schools in Johannesburg including Bryanston Primary, Parkview Primary, Fourways High School and Montrose Primary.

At Montrose Primary in Sandton, Piliswa Nongcawula said she arrived at 06:50 and finished around 08:36.

"Some people arrived at the school at 06:00. Gates only opened at 06:30 for enrolment," she said.

"The line was not very long, but it took very long. There were about 20 people in front of me. I waited one and a half hours."

1km queue

At Fourways High School, people were seen camping outside in a queue on Monday. The queue extended about one kilometre around a corner with gazebos and camping chairs set up.

At Bryanstan Primary, north of Johannesburg, parents had started queuing from 19:00 on Monday evening.

Gauteng department of education spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane said some parents were extremely eager to register their children.

There are limited spots at most schools, and those spots are mostly taken by those parents who work or reside within a specific distance from the school.

"We look at a five kilometre radius where the parent works or resides," said Sekhonyane.

"We are aware that parents are eager to register their children at certain schools, and we've encouraged principals to make available facilities such as school halls and ablution facilities [for them]."

She said those who did not get a place in the school they wanted could apply to neighbouring schools.

"There are other schools in each area. Parents can apply to them."

Some people who live further off sometimes get into a queue hoping that if it is not full, the school may accept them.

Paying people

The Star on Tuesday reported that parents wanting to get their children into Parkview Primary School were paying other people to stand in the queue for them.

Bongani Ngcobo was quoted as saying he gets paid R250 a day and two meals for queuing.

The application process for space in public schools began on 7 April and ends on 27 May, said Sekhonyane.

On 7 April, people collected the application forms.

The return of application forms began yesterday and will continue until 27 May, said Sekhonyane.

"They started returning application forms from yesterday. They have up until May 27 to return the forms, but those who want to be higher up on the waiting list queued yesterday and today," said Sekhonyane.

  • Leigh-Rose Jenkins - 2014-04-15 11:29

    Sensationalist writing at it's best. "Parents braved chilly weather"... my word and it's only April! Will June's weather be described as diabolically chilly or devastatingly chilly...

      Sean - 2014-04-15 13:11

      I was chilled to the bone at 04:00am this morning outside Bryanston Primary. Were you there?

      Johan Grundling - 2014-04-16 10:33

      At 3am I froze my b#tt off outside Springvale Primary in Centurion. Were you there? Or were you in your warm comfy bed?

  • Shafiqua Du Sart - 2014-04-15 11:31

    ludicrous!! Why is it so difficult to access education in this country that parents have to resort to squatting outside schools to get their children enrolled?!

      jeremy thorpe - 2014-04-15 12:53

      It's not about education so much as really GOOD education. Parkview Primary for instance is widely recognised as one of the best quality and value for money primary schools in the entire area - and the only alternative in that area is private schools which cost far more......

  • June Francis - 2014-04-15 11:32

    There was an article in yesterdays Citizen that showed that 1000's of public schools were vacant and being vandalised country wide and now parents are queing to get their kids into school. If you are one of those parents that stood in a que for this - how are you going to vote on the 7th of May? Use your vote wisely.

  • Millicent Sibongile Chinhama - 2014-04-15 11:33

    Why would parents be registering on 15 April, is this a new school?

      Deon Louw - 2014-04-15 11:47

      Maybe it is for 2015?

      Neville Graham - 2014-04-15 13:42

      I'm just as confused as you are Millicent and Deon...are these ppl enrolling their kids for 2015 OR are they only NOW enrolling for 2014 when we are nearly halfway thru this year???...if they are only now enrolling for 2014 (i've never heard of anything more ridiculous btw!) how on earth do those kids catch up on 4-5mths schooling?????...can someone fill me in here, i'm totally lost on this one!!!

      Janine Filmer - 2014-04-15 14:14

      This would be for 2015 admissions.

  • Naas Du Plessis - 2014-04-15 11:39

    Looks like the zanc wants to make it impossible to get educated.

  • Nawhal Majiet-Armien - 2014-04-15 11:50

    there are not enough schools, not enough text books, and the list of maladministration in the education department goes on and on

  • Bongani Nsele - 2014-04-15 12:18

    if as Africans we understand what education is about we would be rushing all over to open our own schools and teach our own children for our own sake

      Judith Mellet - 2014-04-15 12:43

      But Bongani, by paying our taxes to a government who has appointed a Ministry of Education who is tasked with overseeing the education of our children, we are already doing what you say. Unless you mean that somehow we can no longer trust the government with educating our children, in which case the public must open private schools and tell the government we no longer need a Ministry of Education?

  • Chol Mabeo - 2014-04-15 12:38

    RIDDLE OF THE CENTURY INDEED. So it is OK to have our children taught by racist whites but wrong to have a white-led government. I was expecting the ANC and EFF would BE OUT IN FORCE DISSUADING THE BLACK PARENTS FROM DOING THAT but they are as quite as the morning breeze. It all shows that they are in it for money and nothing else.

      Winifred Watson - 2014-04-15 13:33

      Chol Mabeo, the only racists are those in Government who perpetually try to paint a bad picture. It is a disguise which they hide behind. Take a driver past any school in the suburbs and you will see white and black children laughing together, eating lunch together and whats more playing sport together. As parents we all want whats best for our children, we should not burden them with the evil of the past. You go to many shopping malls you will find black and white woman having coffee and laughing and chatting together. All this racism is political blackmail. We all know rural schools do not always get their textbooks on time, they do not always have quality and dedicated teachers. Their parents are also to blame, first opportunity they pull their kids out of class to protest they want a good education for their children but then when it suits them they pull the kids out of school. People want good quality education for their children and more than anything dedicated teachers, these are found mainly in urban schools. Would you not want that for your child, the colour of the skin should have nothing to do with it.

  • Nosiphom Mazibuko - 2014-04-15 12:52

    It is sensationalist of government to claim that it is because people just chose a school of their choice. It is schools nearest to where the parents stay and / or work. what has been happening is that the Government (local) has been approving more and more human settlements - high density settlements at that (e.g. Stoneridge; Heuwelsig, etc in Centurion West), but no social infrastructure Schools, road netwoorks, clinics, hospitals are built. They are happy to take the tax from those people but give nothing in return. When last did governemtn build a school in Centurion (not the two they have recently built in Olievenhoutbosch - which are also full to capacity incidentally). The Dept of Ed is letting us down. And to Chol Mabeo - we are not sending our kids to these schools because of White Teachers or anything - they are the schools where we live and work - its just that there are more people in the catchment area, thanks to Govt Planning.

      Sean - 2014-04-15 13:22

      I am gatvol of this government. They must take their potholes, broken traffic lights, dirty city and queues for public schools and go.... Hamba kahle ANC, voetsek!

  • Nompumelelo Sibiya - 2014-04-15 13:27

    Clearly...this a demonstration of the very high demand for more shools to be built in the province and yet the Department of Education is doing very little, if anything, to address this matter.

      jeremy thorpe - 2014-04-15 13:40

      If the government keeps on allowing people from Zim, Mozambique and other countries to flood over our borders into SA, it's never going to keep up with the demand for schools, hospitals, social services, jobs etc. But they're allowed in because the government believes most of them, on being given SA citizenship, will vote ANC. It really is time for a new government........

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