Home News Angry, worried city parents still waiting for school placements

Angry, worried city parents still waiting for school placements

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Parents accuse the Northern Cape Department of Education of dragging its feet.

City parents gathered outside the Northern Cape Department of Education’s regional office on Monday morning, demanding answers on the placement of their children. Picture: Danie van der Lith

ANGRY parents in Kimberley, who have still not received any information on the placement of their children for the new school academic year, queued outside the Northern Cape Department of Education’s district office on Monday in the hope of getting answers.

The parents said that although they applied timeously on the department’s online school admission system they are still in the dark as to which school their children will attend.

The Department of Education meanwhile said on the weekend that more than 90% of parents had received a SMS with a placement offer.

The department said it was working around the clock to finalise the learner admissions for 2021 and called on parents to remain patient.

Parents have, however, accused the department of dragging its feet and not supplying them with clarity on the matter.

“We came to the district office at 6am. Some of us went to the Teacher’s College last week to seek clarity on the matter. We have been going up and down to the district offices since last week and nobody can give us any answers on where our children will be placed,” the angry and frustrated parents said on Monday.

“It is mid-January already and schools will open soon, but still we do not know which schools our children will be attending.

“The employees at the district offices only opened our applications and told us to wait for the SMS. The department promised that the placement process would be finalised by Friday, January 8. We are now entering a new week and we are still waiting.

“The department has opened late applications, yet we have still not received the outcome on our applications. How can they open more applications when they have not even finalised the placement for parents who applied timeously?”

One of the parents said that the department had carried “the same old” school placement problems into 2021.

“I came to Kimberley in 2013 for work and did not have a child back then. My colleagues were struggling with placement for their children at that time. I now have a child who has to go to Grade R and I am now faced with the same problem my colleagues had encountered,” said the parent.

“What has the department done over the years to address the challenge of shortage of space in schools? Every year we have to hear that there is no space for Grade R learners, but the problem never gets resolved.”

The parents of prospective Grade R pupils slammed the department for not having enough places at schools.

“The department said in a statement that it has received applications for 4,700 Grade R learners in the Frances Baard District but it only has space for 1,421 Grade R learners. Do they seriously want the more than 3,200 parents to take their children to early childhood development (ECD) centres? ECD centres are private institutions. If they are struggling to place Grade R learners this year, where will these same learners be placed when they progress to Grade 1?” they asked.

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said the department will issue a statement on the state of admissions later on Monday.

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