Mobile units, more classrooms: Lesufi’s promises after record number of Grade 1 and 8 applications

  • The Gauteng Department of Education received an overwhelming number of placement applications for Grades 1 and 8 for the 2023 academic year.
  • Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said it was the highest number of applications received since the province’s online application process was launched in 2016.
  • Schools that received applications in excess of their capacity have been identified.

Hoërskool Langehoven in Pretoria North is one of several Gauteng schools that received an overwhelming number of Grade 8 applications for 2023 – far in excess of the number it is able to accommodate.

The school only has 310 openings, but received 2 607 Grade 8 applications.

Laerskool Akasia, also in Pretoria North, received the most Grade 1 applications in Gauteng. The school can only accommodate 255 pupils but received 1 538 applications.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi revealed this on Sunday during a briefing on the province’s online placement process.

A total of 764 062 applications were submitted and processed for both Grades 1 and 8. According to him, it’s the highest number of applications received since the launch of the department’s online application process in 2016.

There are 157 697 Grade 1 pupils to place and 174 780 Grade 8 pupils.

From Monday, he added, parents and guardians will receive SMSes with placement offers. The offers must be accepted within seven school days.

SMSes will be sent out continuously until the end of the placement period on 30 November, Lesufi added.

He pointed out that placements were not made on a first-come first-serve basis.

“Parents and guardians are reminded that the placement offers are based on the following criteria considered in order of priority: home address within the school’s feeder zone; sibling(s); previous school; work address within the school’s feeder zone; home address within a 30km radius; and home address beyond a 30km radius.”

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He added that the department had identified schools that received an overwhelming number of applications in excess of their capacity.

About 275 primary schools and 221 secondary schools were regarded as high-pressure schools.

“In order to assist high-pressure schools to accommodate more learners, we will augment classroom shortages and enhance space by providing schools with mobile units and transferring funds to schools for self-build classroom projects.

“This process will avail about 599 additional classrooms to primary schools and 698 additional classrooms to secondary schools.

“We must emphasise that, with all these interventions, unfortunately, it will not be possible to accommodate all applicants to schools they prefer; however, all applicants will be placed at schools with available space,” Lesufi warned.