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Parents camp outside school premises overnight to ensure a place for their child

Parents hoping to get their children into Kimberley Girls High School, yesterday started camping outside of the school in order to be first in line for registrations. At the back of a bakkie, a gas stove was on hand to make hot drinks to keep the cold under control. Picture: Danie van der LIth

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Education’s school admission policy has again come under the spotlight as scores of parents continue to camp overnight outside schools in a desperate attempt to ensure a place for their children.

Yesterday morning parents started camping outside Kimberley Girls’ High School, where registrations for next year open this morning, in the hopes of obtaining a place for their children for Grade 8 in 2019.

Many parents have criticised the department’s admission requirements, slating it as “ludicrous”.

Prove

“The department needs to re-look at its criteria because the situation is becoming worse each year. Because pupils need to prove that they live close to the school, people living in outlying areas don’t have a hope of ever getting their children to schools closer to town, even if they work close by,” one parent said.

Another parent pointed out that even if they were first in the queue, there was no guarantee that their children would be offered a place at the school of their choice.

“We could sit here all night and still find that our children have not been offered a place at the school. The question is where are all the children of officials from the Education Department and other government departments. You don’t see them standing in queues.”

Another parent yesterday added that “at the end of the day, the decision on which school your child goes is determined by the department”.

All public schools in Kimberley and the Northern Cape will be open for admission of pupils for next year from May 7 to 31 on a day determined by the school.

Applicants for admission to a public school are considered in the following order: if they have a sibling already attending that school (a pupil who has at least one parent who is also the parent of a pupil already attending that school and who lives in the same household as the 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 an adjacent suburb of the school; and finally 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.

School principals will inform parents or guardians in writing by August 20 to 24, 2018 if the application was successful.

Some of the parents already queueing outside Girls’ High yesterday said they had been there since early in the morning and had come prepared to spend the night, with blankets, camping chairs and flasks of hot coffee.

Last year the department received a total of 20 646 applications for admission in the Frances Baard and John Taolo Gaetsewe districts alone.