Gauteng to open online applications for schools in May – here are the big changes you should know about

MEC for Basic Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, has announced that online applications for grades one to eight in the province will open on 13 May.

Speaking at an event on Sunday (28 April), Lesufi said that the applications will fall under the new admissions system which is aimed at eliminating the unfair exclusion of learners at certain schools.

Originally gazetted in November 2018, the new ‘feeder zone’ regulations are aimed at overturning spatial planning in the province’s education system.

The regulations follow a 2016 Constitutional court judgement which directed the department to determine feeder zones for public schools in the province.

A feeder zone is an area that a school should prioritise when admitting learners, taking into consideration learners who live close or whose parents work close to that school.

Historically student could only apply to schools within 5km of where they lived.

The new criteria will allow learners to access a school:

  • If their place of residence is closest to the school within the feeder zone;
  • If they have a sibling in the school;
  • If the place of employment of at least one parent of the applicant is within the feeder zone;
  • If the learner’s place of residence is within a 30km radius of the school depending on space availability.

Lesufi said that while schools previously used language and proximity as a basis to refuse admission to learners, the new system is aimed at giving learners equal access.

“The new regulations are not discriminatory. I want to emphasise that point,” he said.

“Some school policies were published in the 1920s and (don’t take into account) informal settlements or new developments.

“All those policies are now nullified by this process. The school must now submit new admissions policies to the HOD (Head of Department) for approval.  If they want to use Afrikaans for example, the HOD will check the demographics around the area. If indeed it is still Afrikaans then the HOD will authorise it.

“But if there is a new informal township or new townhouses that have gone up in the area then we can’t behave as if it’s still in the days of dromedaries.”

Read: Private schools in South Africa are losing learners to emigration

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Gauteng to open online applications for schools in May – here are the big changes you should know about