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Desperate parents queue for spots

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By noon yesterday parents had already taken their place in front of Kimberley Junior School, where admissions are expected to open today.

QUEUES: A makeshift waiting list started by the parents.

PARENTS who are desperate to enrol their children in Grade R for the 2019 academic year started queuing at city schools yesterday, 24 hours before admissions opened.

By noon yesterday, about a dozen parents had already taken their place in front of Kimberley Junior School, where admissions are expected to open today.

About 40 names had already been placed on a makeshift “waiting list” started by the parents.

Armed with camping chairs and cooler boxes, the parents planned to spend the night on the pavement in front of the school, so that they could be first in line to register their children today.

One of the parents, Cyndi-Lee Apie, said that she had been queueing since 5am yesterday morning and that she considered the Department of Education’s criteria for admission “unfair”.

According to the spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Education, Geoffrey van der Merwe, applicants for admission to a public school will be considered in the following order: if they have a sibling already attending that school (a sibling means a pupil who has at least one parent who is also the parent of the pupil already attending that school and he or she resides in the same household as that child already attending the school); if their parent is an employee at that school; if their place of residence is within the same suburb as the school; if their place of residence is in the adjacent suburbs of the school; and if places remain after all the above-mentioned applicants have been offered places, other applicants will be considered in the order in which their applications were received by the school.

Apie, however, said that Kimberley Junior would be the most convenient school for her first-born child to attend, as it was the closest school to her place of employment.

“If my child does not get accepted at this school, they will have to explain in detail why not”, she said.

Another parent, Thandi Makuba, shared the same sentiment and also said that Kimberley Junior was her preferred choice for her child to attend Grade R.

Other city parents said yesterday that they had sacrificed at least two days from work to queue at schools in the hopes of ensuring that their children are admitted.

“If your child is not placed at a decent school during Grade R, they will not get a place at a decent primary school and then at a decent secondary school. This means the success of your child’s entire academic future depends on where they are placed during Grade R,” the parents said.

Kimberley Junior School, which only has 85 places available for Grade R pupils, has been a hugely popular choice with hundreds of parents attempting to secure their children a spot at the school.

Van der Merwe said yesterday that the compulsory age for admission to Grade R is age five years turning six years in the year of admission.

“The minimum age of admission to Grade R is age four years turning five years by June 30 in the year of admission. Schools must only admit Grade R pupils who are age five years turning six years in the year of admission. The department will admit Grade R pupils who are age four years turning five by June 30 in the year of admission after all the age five years turning six years have been admitted,” Van der Merwe said.

At the beginning of this academic year, around 200 Grade R pupils had still not been placed in schools by the provincial Department of Education. At the time, Van der Merwe said that the department had no spaces available for Grade R pupils in public ordinary schools and he encouraged parents to enrol their children at community-based sites.