If you have a child turning 5 this year, I’m pretty certain you are with me when I say school registration is a stress of note! It seems to be all moms are talking about these days – on play dates, on the park benches, birthday parties, soccer practices, in the line at P ‘n P – even outside the schools where moms are ‘stalking’ the staff. Get this, I heard of someone who took freshly baked muffins to the secretary every Wednesday until her son was accepted, and it all started before the little bundle had even exited her womb. You can’t make this stuff up.
It’s pretty clear that parents mean serious business when it comes to their kids futures and with so few good schools, it’s no wonder moms are having mild panic attacks and sleepless nights. Or staying up late baking batches of bran muffins to sweet talk the lady at the desk. It’s obvious she holds a fair amount of power just by her attitude over the phone. I’m going to stop you right there. I suggest you look at the catchment area map, you can find it on the website. I’m sorry I’m just in the middle of booking interviews for those who actually LIVE in the area. I would suggest you get working on a really good motivational letter. You are going to need one.
I mean who are you? And the only motivation I need is that I want my kid to be educated. FAIRLY. Just like everybody else.
It’s all a little odd to me though, the way things work. It appears to be a system that doesn’t hold any guarantees and one that at times seems downright unfair. There are so many moms asking the same question, How can they let him in but deny us entrance when we live two houses down? or How come just because they live in XYZ are they accepted when XYZ isn’t even in the right zone anyway? Just that word alone is enough to make any parent want to punch something. ZONE. Or worse CATCHMENT AREA. That one just sends some of us straight over the edge.
For months these words have been discussed and dissected. Parents have been left to make sense of how it is expected of them to find a school where their child will be enrolled. One that is up to standard and where they are not expected to travel 2 hours getting there everyday. For working parents how are they meant to work around all those added logistics?
What’s worse is that if you go onto the Western Cape Government website, it says things like;
Schools that are unable to accommodate your child will refer you to the relevant WCED district office if your application has been unsuccessful so that district officials can help you find a place your child.
And then you skim the website some more, hoping, praying for a loop-hole, something that will offer some encouragement to your dire situation and then you read THIS:
We cannot guarantee places at schools of choice, even if these are the closest to your home. We encourage you to accept the next choice of school if the first choice is full.
SO what the heck are we meant to do? What are all the parents meant to do about their kid’s futures? Is it that there are just too many children and not enough quality schools in the right areas?
This is what I found on the Eye Witness News website about the issue at hand:
Last Wednesday, more than 2 million pupils across the country kicked off the 2016 academic year. â€¨â€¨Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says every year the Gauteng Education Department faces the challenge of finding vacancies for desperate pupils. â€¨â€¨
It’s a situation that we deal with every year. It’s a reality that we have to face in Gauteng that there are not enough schools for everyone.
It really is a hard thing for parents to have to deal with. After all, all we are asking is that our children be given the best start to life and afforded the opportunity of a good education. For moms and dads who have full-time jobs and homes to run, this only adds extra stress to their already stressful and busy lives. As for the single moms who are doing all of this alone? It can’t be easy.
I guess it’s just luck of the draw. I guess it’s now just a waiting game.
Sometimes I lie awake in my bed at night and wonder where our son will be placed and pray it’s our preferred choice. Sometimes I wonder what muffin mix I have in my cupboard. Sometime I make a note on my phone to call the next day to speak to the lady at the desk.
I have one last question to ask her before they decide whether they will welcome by son or not. Bran or choc chip?