South Africa: Afrikaans community fights back over school admissions in Gauteng

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Ernest Mabuza

The termination of the role of feeder schools‚ erosion of the school governing bodies’ role and the exclusion of SGBs from the determination process regarding schools’ capacity were among the objections raised by AfriForum on Thursday as it called for draft regulations on the admission of learners to schools in Gauteng to be scrapped.

The organisation made the call after submitting its own comments on the Draft Regulations on the Admission of Learners‚ which were published by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi in a special Provincial Gazette on July 30.

The draft regulations make provision for the MEC of education in the province to have the final say about a school’s language and admission policy.

The proposed regulations state that no pupil may be refused admission to a Gauteng public school on grounds that constituted unfair discrimination – including race‚ gender‚ disability‚ belief‚ culture‚ language‚ pregnancy or illness.

They also suggest that no pupil may be refused admission because they‚ or their parents‚ do not subscribe to the mission statement of the school and code of conduct.

The amendments also propose that when a pupil has applied for admission to a school‚ the school may not request information from the pupil’s current school for information about the financial status of their parents or information about the health of the learner.

Thursday was the closing day for the public to comment on the proposed amendments.

AfriForum said its submission comprised a legal opinion by an advocate and comments by members in Gauteng who were parents that requested their concerns to be submitted.

AfriForum raised a number of objections to the draft regulations.

In addition to the role of SGBs and the lack of consultation opportunities with stakeholders regarding the issue of feeder zones‚ AfriForum also said the draft regulations provided that the current model of cooperation among the department‚ schools and school governing bodies would be replaced by a system dominated by the department.

In light of these concerns‚ the group called for the draft regulations to be scrapped.

Carien Bloem‚ coordinator for education at AfriForum‚ said Lesufi held numerous public meetings where concerned Afrikaans parents had asked questions.

“However‚ these questions were not answered at any of the meetings. On the contrary‚ parents who specifically asked about mother-tongue education were reviled as being racist‚” said Bloem.

Read original article here.

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