Lesufi promises online school applications will run smoothly, no glitches or hassles

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Panyaza Lesufi.
Panyaza Lesufi.
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  • The Gauteng education department says it does not anticipate any problems with online applications for pupils entering Grade 1 or Grade 8.
  • Applications for Grades 1 and 8 will open on Friday at 08:00 and run until 19 August. 
  • Pupils will be placed in schools in October. 

The Gauteng education department has promised parents that the online application system for Grade 1 and 8 pupils for 2023 will go smoothly. 

Applications for the 2023 school year open on Friday at 08:00. They close on 19 August.  

Applications for all other grades are still done at schools and not online. 

Historically, the online system has been riddled with problems with the system crashing, or children not being placed in schools on time.  

This year, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi promises it will be different.  

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On Thursday, Lesufi said, "We have improved it. For the last three years, the system was not crashing. Technically, this system is capable of taking 40 000 applications. We are sure that we are ready."

He said the system would be able to handle 40 000 applications at the same time and up to 120 000 in an hour.  The department expects 200 000 applications for each grade. He said schools only had space for 100 000 pupils per grade. 

"This process creates tension and problems, and that is why we are starting early. We want to intervene where we can; intervene as soon as possible. There will be no child who will be chased from schools."

Asked why the department did not just build new schools, Lesufi said, "The system helps us to know where parents want to take their kids. You can build a new school, but if parents don't think they will get a quality education, they will not apply there. Where there is high demand, we get an additional budget to build additional classrooms. 

"There will be no child who will be kicked out of school because the class is full. That is our position. We will bring them into the classroom and build additional classrooms while they are there. There are many parents complaining that there are 60 learners in a classroom. Whose child must stay home?"

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Gauteng education head of department Edward Mosuwe said instead of building new schools, they offered money to overcrowded ones to construct additional classrooms. 

"This year, we have transferred R231 million to schools to build classrooms. We expect to have about 460 new classrooms built through this process. Through this self-build with SGBs, we have been able to build 1 176 classrooms in the province. If you were to translate 1 176, it would be a school of 30 classrooms each. This process of self-build has given us about  39 schools."

How to apply 

Lesufi said they were introducing changes to the online application system this year. These include having a single application process instead of one for the different grades.  

To apply, guardians must create a profile on the system and have a cellphone number to which verifications and other information can be sent.  

Parents will be allowed to apply to a minimum of three schools and a maximum of five.  

"Parents are encouraged to use home addresses within school feeder zone application options to see schools with feeder zones that cover the parent's home address. To increase the chances of placement closer to the parent's home address, parents should select schools with feeder zones that cover the parent's home address," Lesufi said. 

Once the application is successful, parents have seven days to submit the required documents. This can either be done online or at the schools they applied to.  

Lesufi said that, unlike in previous years once a school receives many applications, it will not be removed from the system.  

"All schools will remain open and accessible on the system for applications during the application period. Schools have raised concerns with us that sometimes people who apply don't qualify, and if you black the school out, you find that the school stands empty. 

Parents with children in Grade R at a primary school still have to apply for admission into Grade 1.  

Guardians who don't have internet connection can go to 48 decentralised walk-in centres. They can also be assisted at 105 public libraries in the province.  

Placements are from October 3. Applications can be done here


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