Afrikaans schools win first round against forced anglicization

Disgruntled parents of single-medium Afrikaans schools dragged Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to court and won the first round.

Fedsas said Lesufi’s decision to make parents apply for admission electronically was merely an effort to take control of the placement of pupils.

The Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools’ (Fedsas) chief executive officer, Paul Colditz, said Lesufi’s decision undermined the Schools Act, which stated school governing bodies are responsible for schools’ admissions policy.

The South Gauteng High Court on Tuesday reinforced the status quo when it ordered that a process by which school governing bodies submit to school district directors lists of both successful and unsuccessful candidates for the 2016 school year, should continue.

After lengthy court proceedings, the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas) won part of its battle in an urgent interdict against what it sees as a deliberate strategy by the Gauteng education department to turn Afrikaans-only schools into English institutions.

The MEC announced earlier this year no parent should have to queue outside school buildings to try to ensure admission to a school of their choice. These application should be done electronically at all Gauteng schools.

Fedsas had sent an urgent letter to the head of education in Gauteng, Boy Ngobeni, demanding the allegedly irregular requirements of the electronic system be retracted.

Fedsas came into possession of leaked departmental documents last month, in which only Afrikaans single-medium schools, 124 of them, were to be targeted to become English schools.

The education department insisted on moving forward with the electronic admission selection, which resulted in Fedsas taking the department to court. Colditz said the e-platform in its current form does not allow for schools’ admissions and language policy, which also goes against the Schools Act.

“The e-platform takes into account two criteria for placement: whether a parent or guardian lives or works within the school’s area and whether an applicant has a sibling in the same school.”

Colditz said Lesufi’s copy-and-paste project would destroy schools instead of building them up.

“Parents take their children to school looking at the culture, language and the standard of the school. Letting this e-platform take over would mean the school would not have control over who they admit.

“We request parents to apply at the school of their choice as a matter of urgency and to avoid applying electronically. Applications via the central e-platform will lead to schools having no record of applications,” said Colditz.

“It is shocking that, even though Fedsas was successful with a court case in which large sections of the admissions regulations were scrapped in 2013, the department is still interfering with schools’ admissions and language policies.

“We want to make it very clear Fedsas is in favour of cooperating with education role-players.”

Colditz said improved processes “should not complicate matters further”.

Source: The Citizen