Call for patience as schools finalise enrolment for 2017

STAFF REPORTER

Parents all around the Western Cape grow anxious as schools’ early enrolment deadline approaches.

This year the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) launched an early enrolment campaign for 2017 to assist parents, officials and schools with the enrolment process as early as possible, so as to accelerate the confirmation of school placement.

Parents were required to submit applications to schools by March 11. The deadline for schools to inform parents of the outcome of their applications is this Friday June 24, meaning not all schools have finalised the process of admissions and have only four days to do so.

Both the WCED and the Education MEC’S office have been inundated with requests from parents for placement in their schools of choice, or in schools closest to their homes. Many are upset that their child has not been accepted into a particular school and are “demanding” placement at these schools.

Debbie Schäfer, the MEC for Education, said while they understand that parents are concerned that they will not get their child into their school of choice, there are a number of factors that they have to consider, namely:

* The school governing body (SGB) of the school is responsible for the admissions policy of that particular school, not the WCED.

* The proximity to a school does not always guarantee placement. Living 50m from a school or 50km cannot guarantee placement.

* Some schools receive five times the number of applications than the places they have available. Therefore, they cannot satisfy the needs of everyone who applies.

* Focus schools and agricultural schools may administer an admission test together with the application. However, this is not applicable to other public schools.

* The WCED cannot provide information now as to which schools still have accommodation available as the process is yet to be completed.

“The uptake in admissions this year has revealed that our early enrolment campaign has worked and I am pleased to see that so many parents have taken the responsibility of enrolling their child seriously,” said Ms Schäfer.

“Once the June 24 deadline has passed, parents have until July 25 to inform schools of their intent to attend a particular school. This date is important as this then allows the WCED to start capturing school admissions on our online database – the Schools Admission Management System (SAMI).”

This will then allow WCED officials to identify which schools still have spaces and to direct parents to these schools, as well as track the number of unplaced pupils and to follow up with district officials to reduce and resolve these cases.

Ms Schäfer said they expect that this will only be finalised in the middle of the third term.

“Those who have not secured places by the third term are encouraged to contact their nearest district office to assist with placement. Until then, we cannot confirm where spaces are available,” said Ms Schäfer.