Gauteng processes more than 90,000 online school applications in first day
Despite some minor complaints and glitches, the Gauteng Education Department is pleased with how well its improved system is working
The Gauteng Education Department said it processed more than 90‚000 applications when it launched the online registration system for 2018 Grades 1 and 8 on Tuesday, even though there were some complaints from parents about the system not listing schools in their area or trying to offer them placements at facilities with language or distance challenges.
"We are pleased with the success of the online application system and humbled by the overwhelming response by the people of Gauteng. The feedback so far from the parents that have either used the system or gone to an admission centre to apply online, has generally been positive," the department said in a statement. "Within 20 minutes of opening‚ more than 16‚000 parents had successfully applied online. At lunch time‚ 90‚984 total applications were processed through the system."
The department conceded it experienced "minor" problems including parents being told their details already exist and receiving error messages while applying, "However most of these have been resolved. Problems were resolved swiftly as soon as parents alerted the department".
Its call-centre was also offline "due to a fire that occurred over the weekend in our office", the department said.
Frustrated parents shared some of their experiences about the process on Twitter.
Caryn Bakewell said her English-speaking Grade 1 [child] was being allocated to an Afrikaans high school, while Mmakosa Maphosa from Pretoria said she was being referred to places such as Benoni‚ Etwatwa and Puttfontein.
The department‚ which advised parents to use Google Chrome to access the online website as is it faster than other search engines‚ said it had made a number of changes to the online registration system from last year to improve efficiency.
These included increased capacity to handle at least 150‚000 concurrent applications per minute‚ and amending the application procedure to a one-step process rather a two-step one of registering a profile first then applying a week later.
The department has urged parents who do not have access to the internet to visit any one of 65 admission centres across Gauteng. The centres opened on Tuesday and parents were given an opportunity to visit community libraries and Thusanong Day Care Centres in Gauteng.
For those who applied‚ the department said: "Parents are reminded to submit their documents to the school within seven days. If documents are not submitted within the stipulated period‚ the application cannot be completed."
The closing date for application is midnight on June 12. The placement of learners will start from July 24, according to a department statement.