Parents still camping outside public schools or hiring people to do so ahead of the registration process for 2018 are wasting their time, according to the Gauteng department of education.
Although online registration was introduced last year in a bid to reduce the number of parents spending days queuing and camping outside schools to register their children, hundreds of parents around Johannesburg spent last night outside waiting to be first in line.
Last year, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi’s highly criticised decision to institute an online registration process to replace the manual application system seemed to have eased the burden for most parents.
This year, however, changes to the system mean only those applying for Grade 1 and Grade 8 may do so online. This has left a considerable gap, particularly for those registering for Grade R.
At schools such as Rivonia Primary School and Parkview Primary School in Johannesburg, which are public schools and run Grade R classes privately, scores of parents marked their place in the queue yesterday to register today.
A few dozen parents were already waiting, apparently since Friday, to mark their spots in the line outside Parkview Primary School.
Colleen Aldborough, a parent, was not only queuing but also allocating parents with numbered spots in the queue. Some parents had been in the line since 5am yesterday, either on their own or by hiring unemployed and sometimes homeless people to do the job.
“People have been here and are using it as an employment opportunity to make some money, so they took the initiative from Wednesday,” explained Aldborough.
The school put out a notice asking parents not to hire people to queue for them, saying it created a “false economy”.
Gauteng education department spokesperson Oupa Bodibe said even though online registration was only available for Grades 1 and 8, lining up to register other grades was unnecessary.
“Any time between now and May 31, parents may go to a school to register. There is absolutely no need to be queueing or hiring someone to queue,” he said.