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Worried city parents still waiting for school placements

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Parents who applied to Afrikaans-medium schools have apparently already been informed about their children’s placements.

Parents of English-medium learners in Kimberley have indicated that they are still waiting to hear in which schools their children will be placed in for the 2021 academic year. File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

THE PARENTS of English-medium learners in Kimberley have indicated that they are still waiting for the Northern Cape Department of Education to indicate which schools their children will be placed in for the 2021 academic year.

Some parents who applied to Afrikaans-medium schools have apparently already been informed about their children’s placements.

The department said last month that parents would know by December 15 which schools had accepted their applications.

The department said that the parents would have to log onto its website and indicate whether they accept or decline the placement offer.

However, parents who applied to dual or English-medium schools fear that they may have to queue at the department’s district offices in search of placement for their children in the new year.

“The department introduced the online school application system and the process was smooth. We waited in anticipation for the feedback from the department. We were hopeful that the placement would be as easy and smooth as the application process. However, it seems like history will repeat itself as many parents still do not know whether their applications have been approved,” the concerned parents said on Tuesday.

“The department indicated that parents would know the outcome of their applications by December 15. We, however, heard that parents who applied to Afrikaans-medium schools already had feedback on their applications. It is only the English-medium learners who still need to know where they will be attending. It is so unfair.”

Other parents pointed out that their preparations for the 2021 academic year are being ruined.

“We wanted to get school uniforms before the school shops closed. There are rumours that we will only hear about the results of our applications a few days before schools reopen in the new year. We can already foresee that parents will be lining up at the department to appeal their placements and requesting space for their children. The department always acts like it is not aware of the number of learners there are in the Province,” they said.

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Lehuma Ntuane said the reason why some parents of Afrikaans-medium learners have already been notified about placement is because there is a smaller number of Afrikaans-medium learners in the city.

“We never had a challenge with the enrolment of Afrikaans-medium learners as there is not a high volume of learners. We do, however, have a high enrolment number of English-medium learners,” said Ntuane. “It is not that Afrikaans-medium learners are being favoured. There are parents who applied to English-medium schools who have already received feedback on placement.

“We have also noticed that there are some schools where parents have applied to that have since run out of space. We now look closer at the criteria in order to see how learners can be accommodated.

“The department is meeting to address the matter and will give a provincial picture on how the placement process is going after that meeting,” Ntuane concluded.