At least two provincial departments of education – Free State and North West – have urged parents to register their children in time for the 2022 academic year to allow for proper planning.
The Gauteng department of education, which opened its online admissions this week, said that it had already received more than 100 000 applications.
Earlier in the week, the North West department of education, which opened registrations in April, encouraged parents of pupils entering grades R, 1 and other years to apply before the September 30 closing date.
North West Education MEC Mmaphefo Matsemela said applying on time would assist the department to get enough furniture and avoid overcrowding in classrooms, as well as ensure enough textbooks were ordered so that pupils would not have to share them, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“While schools are compelled to compile waiting lists, principals and school governing bodies are advised to encourage parents to submit application forms before the deadline to avoid longer waiting lists,” said the department.
Meanwhile, the Free State department of education announced this week that it had extended its registration period to the end of this month.
The spokesperson for the department, Howard Ndaba, explained that because the second term had ended sooner than expected, it had affected the registration period. As a result, not all parents had been able to return the registration forms to schools before July 31.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the early closure of schools for the June holidays as the country battled a third wave of Covid-19 infections.
Free State education department head, Tsoarelo Malakoane, encouraged parents to make use of the application extension for pupil placements for the 2022 academic year.
On Friday, the Gauteng department of education said it had recorded 104 504 successful applications after opening its online admissions application system for grades 1 and 8 on Tuesday.
Its spokesperson, Steve Mabona, said some parents had faced several challenges while trying to apply on Tuesday.
These included parents receiving error messages when entering their ID numbers and home addresses, even after they had verified their personal details at schools. Some parents also raised concerns about not receiving assistance with the verification of details from schools, said Mabona.
Many parents vented their frustrations on social media platforms, prompting the department to ask those who were tagging it and MEC Panyaza Lesufi to send it direct messages instead.
“Our back-office support – including the districts and schools – have been extremely busy providing assistance to parents and guardians so that they’re better able to navigate the system,” said Mabona.
Two weeks ago, City Press spoke to two parents who were frustrated because the department had not opened the online application system earlier, as in previous years. In the past, applications opened in either May or June.
The parents told City Press on Wednesday that they had since successfully applied for places for their children.
A West Rand father whose son is beginning Grade 8 next year said he was one of the first 20 people to apply at one of the schools he wanted his son to attend.
“I applied within 10 minutes of the system opening, with no problem,” he said.
However, a Soweto mother whose son is also going into Grade 8 said she had battled to apply on Tuesday.
“I had to delete my profile three times and use a different device before my application went through,” she said.
Two weeks ago, Lesufi announced that the application system now comprised two phases to improve administrative efficiency. Phase one, which opened on Tuesday and will run until September 3, is for pupils who are currently in Grade 7 in public schools in the province and will be going to Grade 8 next year.
Phase two will run from September 13 to October 8 and will be for pupils going to grades 1 and 8 who are not in public schools in the province.