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2021 pupil enrolment on hold

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At this time of the year, parents are already usually scurrying around to get application forms from the schools of their choice.

WHILE there is still uncertainty about when schools will reopen for the 2020 academic year, some parents in Kimberley are facing the added stress of pupil admissions for the 2021 academic year.

At this time of the year, parents are already usually scurrying around to get application forms from the schools of their choice.

The application process for 2021, however, has been put on hold due to Covid-19.

The spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Education, Lehuma Ntuane, said on Wednesday that an announcement regarding applications for 2021 would be communicated at a later stage.

“The department will make an announcement regarding pupil admissions at an appropriate time. We are currently dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Ntuane.

Parents in the city said they knew they would have to run around next year to get placement for their children.

“The department is aware that the registration of pupils is always a huge challenge, especially the enrolment of Grade R and Grade 8 pupils. I am not sure why the department does not open the application process. They are aware that the application process is a pain and parents will be forced to line-up at schools next year. We understand that there is pandemic but this is purely administrative work,” one parent said.

Other parents pointed out that space at schools was always a problem.

“Each year we hear reports of thousands of children not being able to get placements at schools. The response from the department is always the same and they blame parents for enrolling their children late. What measures have they put in place with this pandemic to ensure we will not be standing in long lines at the district office as we wait for our children to be placed? 

“This year will even be worse as there is no clarity from the department. This pandemic is exposing every shortcoming in all government departments. We are supposed to know which school our children will attend by August, but it does not seem like that will happen,” they said.

The department last year indicated that it was exploring introducing an online application system, however there is currently no indication whether that process was ever launched.

“The Northern Cape Department of Education is exploring all avenues to ensure that as from next year (2020) we introduce an electronic admissions system. This will go a long way and avoid long queues at schools to enrol pupils for the new school academic year,” the department said in a statement at the beginning of this year.”