It seems despite the rise in school related COVID-19 cases the government is soldiering on with it’s proposed school calender. As part of its program the government has announced that their eMap platform will be online starting today, Monday 7 December 2020 until Sunday 31 January 2021. This means that if you are a parent with a child looking to get a Form One place at a boarding school you can now sign up as of this morning.

How to apply for a Form 1 boarding school place

As already said, you are no longer allowed/need to go to every school looking for a place. You can just apply online via the eMap platform which is operated by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education. You can apply for yourself or you child by following these steps:

  • Go to the Emap website by clicking here
  • If you don’t already have an account click on Sign Up in order to create an account
  • You will be taken to an instruction page which is actually a page that lists Terms and Conditions some of the terms that stand out:
    • You need to keep your username and password safe after signing up and notify the administrators of the eMap platform/Ministry if your username and password are compromised
    • You can only apply to 3 schools at the moment and the moment and the Ministry reserves the right to change this.
    • Once a school accepts your application all your other applications to other schools turn from pending to processed
    • You will need to confirm that you understand these rules before you can proceed with registration and click next
  • Enter your centre and candidate numbers in the allocated slots
  • Select your date of birth from the dropdown
  • Confirm that you have cleared with your former school
  • Enter your username and password as well as your phone number

Students whose applications are successful will be notified via SMS by the prospective school

You need results before you can appply

Now here is the catch. Although the platform is now online it doesn’t mean you can just create an account and start applying. You need Grade 7 results in order to do so and those are not out yet at the moment. The results are going to come out early next year in January according to a Ministry of Education spokesperson. The exact date is not known although the cutoff date is 31 January. This means results are coming out before the cutoff date when applications close.

Talking to schools beforehand might be a good idea

The introduction of eMap saw schools being prevented from using written interviews to evaluate prospective students. They are now only allowed to use Grade 7 results. The trouble is that these traditionally always come out late in the year, while interviews could be carried out as early as June allowing students to know which school they were going to the following year.

Some private schools still allow parents and prospective students to contact them outside the platform before the process starts. This gives them the opportunity to asses students before hand. When the exam results do come out and the student applies through the platform the process is just a formality. The problem with the eMap system is that it restricts choice for students and limits evaluation criteria that schools can use.

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