Immunisation cards needed for grade 1 admission in Gauteng, says Lesufi

01 August 2021 - 12:33
By aron hyman AND Aron Hyman
Pupils starting grade 1 next year will need to provide proof that they have been vaccinated before they are admitted to school, says Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
Image: Esa Alexander Pupils starting grade 1 next year will need to provide proof that they have been vaccinated before they are admitted to school, says Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

The grade 1 class of 2022 in Gauteng will be required to provide immunisation cards to be admitted to schools.

This is according to Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who announced this during a press briefing on Sunday. Lesufi said this requirement will apply only to grade 1 pupils.

The Gauteng education department will open online and walk-in admissions for grade 1 and grade 8 pupils for the 2022 school year from August 10.

Lesufi said the process will be opened in two phases. The first phase, which will run from August 10 to Sep. 3, will be for grade 7 pupils currently in the Gauteng public school system to apply for high school.

The second phase will be for grade 1and grade 7 pupils coming into the province's public school system from other provinces or from private schools. The second phase will open on Sep. 13 and close on October 8.

Placement for phase one will happen between Oct. 15 and November 30 and for phase two between Nov. 15 and November 30. 

“For applicants unable to apply from home or office there will be 47 decentralised walk-in centres. District offices and head offices will also serve as walk-in centres,” said Lesufi.

He said before they applied, parents needed to provide accurate and detailed learner details to the schools where grade 7 pupils were currently enrolled. He said between Aug. 2 and 6 primary schools will verify and update learner details including cellphone numbers, IDs, and home addresses.

Parents will also be required to submit documents containing their personal information to the school they have applied to within seven days of their application. Lesufi said they required parents to identify five schools they wanted their children to go to.

He also announced that an education department team reporting to him twice a week were working on a plan to “re-engineer” schools in Gauteng.

“There will be a change of schools in Gauteng. We can't keep these apartheid patterns forever, we must break them,” he said.

“To break them, it means we must change the landscape of how the schools are. This thing of majority wanting fewer schools, and fewer schools being overburdened and majority of schools not being overburdened, we can't allow that,” said Lesufi.

He said they were piloting a school ranking system where schools would be given a 5-star rating similar to hotels.

"[This is] because there are good schools that are doing exceptionally well in the townships. I mean we've got one school in Diepsloot, they've given us 100% matric pass, but parents don't even want to look at that school just because it's in the township. I think we must change that mentality as well. And that school is performing much better than a school in Fourways,” he said.

“But besides that we are building beautiful schools in the townships, schools that have everything.”

Lesufi said once they have their plan in place the education department would engage in a consultative process about what the changes would look like.

* This article has been corrected to reflect that Grade 1s need immunisation cards to register for school and not Covid-19 immunisation certificates.

Below is the statement from the provincial education department clarifying the confusion:

"The Gauteng Department of Education wishes to clarify the issue of a ‘vaccination report’ being one of the documents required for prospective Grade 1 learners during the 2022 Online Admissions application period.

The ‘vaccination report’ mentioned in the 2022 Online Admissions presentation does not refer to the COVID-19 vaccination.

Instead, it refers to an immunisation card which is a record of immunisations (inoculations/injections) and growth rate given to mothers when their infant is born and it’s used to monitor the development of the child until they are 5 years old.

We are aware of the confusion that might have been caused by using the term ‘vaccination’ instead of ‘immunisation’.

Although these terms are related in that they both involve inoculation/injection, we agree that they carry different meanings, especially within the context of the pandemic we are currently facing.

We urge parents/guardians who will be applying for their children for Grade 1 in Phase 2 to upload or submit their child’s immunisation card accordingly."