AfriForum advises parents to register children as soon as possible from 15 June for grade 1 or 8 in Gauteng

Parents and guardians who wish to enrol their children for grade 1 or 8 in Gauteng schools for 2024, should note that the online registration process will open on 15 June 2023 at 08:00. This period will end at midnight on 14 July 2023, which means that parents only have a month to complete the process. AfriForum therefore encourages parents to finalise this registration as soon as possible to ensure that their children will be placed in the school of their choice.

Applications for placement in Gauteng schools will again take place online only on the Gauteng Department of Basic Education’s website (www.gdeadmisions.gov.za). During a media conference regarding this process, the Gauteng MEC of Education, Matome Chiloane, emphasised that the system has been improved since 2022 to be able to handle a larger number of applications simultaneously. The most important aspects mentioned by Chiloane are that parents must ensure that they give their correct contact details and that the cell number they provide, must remain active at all times until they receive confirmation that their children have been placed. He warned that parents with children in grade R should not assume that their children will automatically be placed in grade 1 at the same school ‒ they still have to apply like any other parent.

The required documents must be submitted online in compact format or at the preferred school within seven days of submitting the online application. If the documents are not submitted within a week, the application will expire.

Placements start on 4 September 2023 and text messages regarding placement offers can be expected at any time from this date. Chiloane encouraged parents to respond as soon as possible once they receive an SMS with information about where a child has been placed.

According to Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s Head of Cultural Affairs, it is positive to note that applicants for both grades 1 and 8 can exercise a choice for language of tuition and learning, and grade 8 applicants for an additional language as well. “However, Chiloane’s answer to a question from the audience that the department desires that single medium Afrikaans schools have to be transformed to offer dual or parallel medium education, is extremely problematic. Any steps to force schools in this direction, will be opposed by AfriForum,” she added.

An important improvement of the process is that this year there will only be a single application process. In 2022, children in public schools were allowed to apply first, and children outside the public system at a later date. This year, all can submit applications at the same time, which is much fairer. It is also welcome that the school in which siblings of applicants are and parents’ work address, will be considered in addition to residential addresses. A choice can be exercised for three to five schools, with preference in the first three choices for the parents’ or guardians’ residential address.

In Bailey’s opinion, another cause for concern is the MEC’s warning that schools first have to apply for approval if spaces therein are used for special services, instead of being used as classrooms. In the past, the department made efforts to force children into full schools because spaces such as laboratories and libraries were considered to be classrooms. In this regard, AfriForum will also ensure that the interests of schools and learners will be protected.

The Gauteng Department of Education will publish guidelines to assist parents with the application process through all its media channels. A video with detailed information is also available on the department’s app. AfriForum will compile supplementary guidelines to assist parents enrolling their children for these grades. Parents who experience problems with the system from 15 June are welcome to contact AfriForum for advice at education@afriforum.co.za.

“It is general knowledge that there are too few schools in Gauteng and this problem must be laid at the door of the Gauteng Department of Basic Education. Chiloane mentioned that more schools will be built to address this shortage but did not elaborate on how many additional schools will be ready by 2024. For this reason, it is essential that children should be enrolled as soon as possible. AfriForum also wants to remind parents of the huge benefits that mother-language education offers. They should bear this in mind when they decide about the school of their preference,” Bailey says.

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