School admission nightmare continues to trouble Gauteng parents

"I was there the first day of registration, and I haven't received a reply."
"I was there the first day of registration, and I haven't received a reply."

Frustration over school placement is turning to rage as the number of parents waiting for their children to be accepted in 2020 grows. 

According to media reports, this past Sunday (3 November) an SMS sent by the Gauteng Department of Education, in error, inviting parents-in-waiting to several district offices in Gauteng worsened what was an already frustrating situation, resulting in massive crowds, long queues and even violence. 

Queuing from as early as 6am, hundreds of parents took to social media to share their fury at the Department's fail, with many saying that they had applied on time and yet their children have still not been accepted. 

Also see: Gauteng parents, you can now apply to any school regardless of your location

Taking to Twitter to explain and apologise for the chaos, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said that while the Department was doing its best, the problem was due to a backlog of parents who have still not accepted school offers. 

Confirming that most of the "good schools" in the province have reached capacity, Lesufi promised that "there will be no learner without a school" and that the Department is "working around the clock to place remaining learners." 

In response to Sunday's events, the Department has extended their admissions deadline to 30 November, with spokesperson Steve Mabona communicating the current stats on completed and outstanding placements since the start of the admission placement period in May. 

"To date, 234 290 applicants have been placed, while 43 797 are unplaced," Mabona said, adding that according to their records more than 4 000 applicants have not communicated with the Department regarding placement. 

What do parents say? 

Promises and backlogs aside, parents continue to vent their frustration with the process, and the number of Parent24 readers sharing their school admission nightmares via email grows by the day.

Here are a few from parents who have done everything by the book, but who's children are still waiting for placement next year. 

'I was there the first day of registration, and I haven't received a reply' 

I registered my son for grade 1, and we submitted all papers that were requested, and we haven't heard anything from the school, some parents already have a list of stationary.

We were told to wait for 31 October and still nothing. What I don't understand is that I was there the first day of registration and I haven't received a reply, but people who went after us already have a stationary list.

Now, I have to go to the district office and motivate why my son should be in that school 

- Worried parent

'I am absolutely appalled by this entire process'

I have a daughter at a public school which is closest to our house. She was accepted based on that fact. This year we applied to the same school for my grandchild who lives with me, as well as two other schools in the area.

Her Grade R application, however, was not successful at any of the schools we applied to. When I enquired with the school closest to us, they said it was due to an influx of applicants from the area. We live less than a kilometre from the school.

When I asked that they provide us with proof and let us know which radius they work within, they refused to give us the information.

They claimed that they were told by the Department that it is confidential. I then contacted the district official, who advised that there's not much they can do as Grade R is not compulsory, but the school had to give us a valid reason.

I am absolutely appalled by this entire process. The principal of the school said that kids get victimised because of parents who ask too many questions, so the message here is that schools get away with treating people badly and the Department stands by and condones it.....

- Regards, Anonymous

'They don't work with first come first serve'

I registered my niece in a local school, and all this was done on time. 

I'm surprised that today they sent me a message that the child has not been accepted, I called them back trying to find out what's really happening then they told me that they don't work with first come first serve, they have their own requirements which they could not explain to me.

- Kind regards, Cedrick 

'Frustration and disbelief'

The arrogance of the Department who shows disregard to tax-paying citizens of our precious country is a disgrace. To increase my chances of getting my very well educated and dedicated daughter of which any school will be proud to have a placement for 2020 Grade 8, I took advantage of applying at five different Schools closest to OUR HOME. 

We work distances away from our homes and need our children placed in schools close to where we live to ensure they are home safe and can complete their studies which will ensure we have very well educated future South Africans. 

We have met all the qualifying criteria except for not having a sibling at the school.  To date, we have not yet received any feedback. 

We have all the receipts and SMS's confirming that all of the documents have been received and verified. 

- Kind Regards, Pramesh 

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