Walk-in centres lend a helping hand to parents

With a capacity to process 50 000 applications a minute, Gauteng education MEC Matome Chiloane is confident that the online system for grades 1 and 8 in the province will run as smoothly as it did on Thursday – the opening day of applications for 2024.

Chiloane said this inWinterveldt, northwest of Pretoria where parents and guardians of children who are starting grade 1 and 8 next year, were assisted with applying for placements at a walk-in centre especially set-up in the area’s community hall.

Winterveldt, which also comprises settlements with home addresses that do not appear on the map in the system, was a hive of activity on the eve of Youth Day as officials from the department of education assisted parents and guardians to apply.

Yolanda Moyo, a 28-year-old mother who applied for placement for her grade 1 child at the nearby Philemon Montsho Primary School, said she was happy with how quick and easy the process had been.

One of the department’s officials, Dr Raymond Ndhlovu, who was assisting Jane Malinga to apply for grade 8 for her child and grade 1 for her neighbour’s child – asked her about recognisable landmarks so that he could locate the nearest schools to her home.

Malinga, who gave Sunday World permission to sit with her as she completed her application, could not find her address on the system, but pointed Ndhlovu to the nearest landmarks close to her home.

Chiloane said the department had been working hard with Microsoft to improve the system.

“It takes just five to 10 minutes to complete the application,” he said, adding that though the Winterveldt walk-in centre was only set up for the day, there are two other centres which the community can access in thearea.

“We have set up 80 walk-in centres in community halls and libraries [around the province],” he said.

Fresh from having his R63.4-billion budget allocation approved, which includes the construction of nine new schools in three years, Chiloane said he was confident the applications, which close on July 14, will go smoothly.

He said seven schools would be replaced by brick-and-mortar schools, while two schools built with asbestos will be rebuilt during the same period.

Parents and guardians are required to either upload certified copies of the required documents on the system or submit them at the relevant schools within seven school days.

In addition to Gauteng, which spearheaded the online system eight years ago, there are only two other provinces that use the online system – Northern Cape and Western Cape.

The closing date for online applications for grade 1 and 8 in Northern Cape is June 22.

Applications for Western Cape closed on April 15.

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