NGO helps parents with online school applications

Staff and volunteers of Where Rainbows Meet, in Vrygrond, are hard at work helping parents, some with a language barrier, to fill in application forms.

Mymoena Scholtz, founder of Where Rainbows Meet, in Vrygrond, is pleading with the Western Cape Education Department to extend the registration period as she, her staff and volunteers have their hands full helping parents to apply for a place for their children at primary schools.

Ms Scholtz said the application window, open from February 26 to March 26 was too short and many parents were not computer literate or could not operate a cellphone and therefore could not complete an online application.

The organisation has opened its doors to the parents as she believes that “no child must be left behind and education is key”.

“I don’t think the department thought this through with this online application because most of our parents are struggling to log on or they do not have access to the internet. We try to assist as much as possible as well as empowering our parents. We also communicate with the Department of Education in order to clear any hassles parents are experiencing.”

Ms Scholtz said many of the parents who knock on their door are refugees and there is a language barrier.

But Kerry Mauchline, spokesperson for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said the department felt the application period was long enough and that measures had been put in place to assist parents.

“We welcome and appreciate the efforts of all organisations who are assisting parents with the important task of applying for a place for their children in school,” she said.

“The applications window is a full month long to allow parents sufficient time to complete their applications. This is the same length as previous years.”

And, she added: “Schools are required to assist a parent who does not have any access to a computer or the internet – paper forms are then captured onto the online system by schools.

“The deadline remains March 26,” said Ms Mauchline.

Ms Scholtz said, Where Rainbows Meet would continue to help parents who needed help registering their children for a place in primary school. “Education is key for all of us because it changes lives for the better.”

For more information contact Kyle Cupido, project manager, on 021 205 3496.