Almost 120 000 offers for Grade 1 and Grade 8 placements in Gauteng schools have been sent out to parents, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Wednesday.
"Parents are given seven working days to accept the placement offer, by the 16th of August. If you do not accept your offer, you forfeit... [it] and all offers will be converted back to pending," Lesufi told reporters at a briefing.
A total of 195 000 parents had received "happy sms's" on Monday notifying them of their children's placements and the department confirmed that 74 000 had accepted the offers by August 7.
When the application process was opened in April, approximately 300 000 people applied. The highest demands were 150 000 applications for Grade 1 and 133 000 for Grade 8.
Lesufi says that this was a sign that society was beginning to accept the online system as a means to access education.
"We will defend the online system because it is assisting us accordingly in planning, budgeting and the quality of education," he said.
Lesufi also confirmed that, within 10 minutes, the top 10 schools in the province were already full.
The pending applications of 90 000 parents would be dealt with once the 195 000 accepted placements have been processed.
"There are 90 000 parents with no offers - we are asking those parents to be patient. From the 17 th of August you will start seeing movement," Lesufi said.
The MEC reiterated that no pupil would be excluded on the basis of language.
"We are not targeting any language and everyone has the right to learn in their language, the minority will not dictate to the majority," Lesufi said.
There was no date for late applications, at this stage, but by August 28 all children that applied on time would be placed.
"This is a constitutional obligation - the only challenge is that it might be a school that was not your first choice," Lesufi said.
The Gauteng Department of Education says there are five factors that are used to place a learner in a school:
1. Curriculum - a child cannot be placed in a school that does not offer the preferred curriculum;
2. Radius - the closer you are to the school;
3. Siblings - this is to make it simple for parents so that all their kids are placed in the same school (is not compulsory);
4. Representation - schools cannot only represent one section of society;
5. School Structure - e.g. if it is a girls school, a boy cannot be placed there.