Guardian lash school online admissions

Shopprice ZA:

Parents and civic organisations have lambasted the new Gauteng Department of Education’s (GDE) online admission process, narraing it as inoperative and ineffective.

The online application system crashed last Monday after receiving 600 applications a second, resulting in parents being unable to log on to register their children.The system was supposed to be up and running two days after it crashed but operations were suspended by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi until Tuesday.A meeting was held last week between parents, guardians and the Gauteng Civic Association (GCA) in Pretoria West to discuss the application process.

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According to secretary-general of the civic association, Themba Ncalo, parents at the meeting said the application process was failing the education system.Some of the parents at the meeting complained they were not computer literate.Ncalo also said officials at Tshwane South district offices said they were not allowed to assist parents who cannot use computers.“As a civic organisation, we are asking why the GDE is fixing something that is not broken. The previous manual system was perfect for most parents and never had any glitches, said Ncalo.

Parents complained they went to district offices for assistance with the online registration as prescribed by the GDE but that when they arrived at the district offices they are told by officials that the district offices do not do admissions.The officials then urge parents to go to the schools for admission. And when the parents arrive at the schools, the principals send them back to the district offices.“So who is fooling who on the admission because it is clear that no one knows what is happening?” asked Ncalo.

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Parents, together with civic organisation, say corruption in the government has cancerously spread to the GDE where a tender to implement the admission online system was issued to politically connected cronies who don’t want to have the system operate and function at once, but delay the implementation knowingly so they can charge for long working hours and benefit financially.“They are probably being paid per hour, hence that is why they are taking their precious time.

The same thing happens in the municipality when there is a power failure,” said Ncalo.Parents are appealing to MEC Lesufi to make the admissions mode for 2017 optional. Those who want to apply online should do so, and those who want to be helped manually should also be assisted.Parents have proposed at sit-in protest at the district offices should this problem not be resolved with immediate impact.

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Acting spokesperson for GDE Oupa Bodibe said it is not right for district officials to turn back parents who need assistance to apply.Bodibe said the GDE will follow up with the district concerned and rectify this, if actually these allegations were true.“We have set up help desks in all of our district offices to assist parents who do not have access to the internet,” said Bodibe.