Parents in panic mode over Form One places
Abigail Mawonde and Praise Bvumbamera
The newly introduced electronic application system for Form One places is proving problematic with parents yesterday saying they were having difficulties in using the platform as it was frequently down.Most parents were in panic mode as newspaper adverts by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education informed them that they should start expecting responses for their applications as from yes- terday.
“We are so worried to see the ministry telling us in newspapers that we should be expecting responses to our applications today (yesterday), yet all this while the electronic application system has been inaccessible.
“The ministry should just come clear on the issue. Some of us have not even managed to apply successfully yet they are telling us that we will be getting responses as from today,” said a parent, only identified as Mr Mutemasango of Warren Park, Harare.
Another parent, Mr Sivukile Simango, said it was difficult to complete the application pro- cess.
“The electronic application system is proving difficult to use. I had challenges with going to the next page as the system would just indicate that the page has stopped working. “I do not know whether it is because of jamming or other problems. As a parent I am really worried because I have not managed to successfully apply for a place for my child,” he said.
Other parents also confirmed the system was not user friendly and a disadvantage especially to the rural folk.
“The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education introduced the new e-application system for Form One boarding places without proper consultations. Some of us live in rural areas where there is poor internet connectivity and we have to travel to the city to apply on behalf of our children,” said Mr Samaita Murandu of Hwedza.
“To make matters worse, right now there are problems which are arising; people cannot access the website and there are no contact details to get hold of anyone from the ministry if the website is not working.
“Government should do something about this new system. In fact, they should have introduced it a long time ago to give people enough time to learn and understand how it works,” he said.
He warned the system would result in many pupils failing to secure boarding places next year. Attempts to get comments from the Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora, his deputy Professor Paul Mavhima and the Permanent Secretary Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango were futile yester- day.
Ministry spokesperson Mr Patrick Zumbo said parents must not panic but professed ignorance over the difficulties faced with the system.
“Parents should not panic over the electronic application platform as their children will eventually get places anyway,” he said.