01/11/2021 - Fedsas
A provincial education department that is not even able to deliver textbooks or get rid of pit toilets at schools is now launching a pilot project for online admissions. The Limpopo Education Department initially indicated that the Gauteng online system will be used but has since developed its own system.
“More than 100 schools form part of the pilot project but the online system is dysfunctional in so many ways that it is to the detriment of schools and learners,” says Dr. Jaco Deacon, acting CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS). Some 35% of schools in the pilot project are members of FEDSAS. “We have received numerous complaints from parents to say that their information is not correctly captured on the system. Many parents who used the system say their children’s names do not appear on these schools’ lists for applications for 2022.”
Deacon says FEDSAS has extensive experience of online admissions through the organisation’s involvement with similar processes in Gauteng and the Northern Cape. “We encouraged our members to participate and FEDSAS provided regular feedback to the provincial education department, but no attention was paid to the feedback.”
In light of serious issues with the system, doubt over the integrity of the process, and especially the implications for learners, FEDSAS has requested the Limpopo Education Department to scrap the project. However, the Department has not reacted to FEDSAS requests. “These are power-hungry, incompetent officials who do not have the best interests of the learners at heart.” FEDSAS has reported the situation to the National Department of Basic Education as well. “We are imploring the Minister of Basic Education to intervene in Limpopo as this ill-conceived project is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Deacon says the legal team of FEDSAS is weighing its options and will also consult with an advocate over possible legal intervention to protect schools. “FEDSAS acts in the interests of its members as well as other public schools and we will ensure that the rights of governing bodies regarding a school’s admission policy as well as the rights of parents and children to choose a school are protected.”