News / South Africa / Local News

Thato Mahlangu
2 minute read
19 Jan 2017
8:29 am

Schools accused of admitting children unfairly

Thato Mahlangu

The schools allegedly admit learners based on their non-South African nationality, but the department says it's an incorrect perception.

Picture: Thato Mahlangu.

Some Pretoria schools are being accused of admitting learners based on their nationality, Pretoria East Rekord reports.

Parents expressed shock to the Rekord about how schools in Sunnyside Pretoria were allegedly giving non-South Africans first preference when allocating learners.

Sunnyside-based schools, Sunnyside Primary School, Pretoria Primary School and Laerskool Oost-Eind Primary School are being accused of giving special treatment to learners based on their parents’ nationality.

It is alleged that the ‘tradition’ at schools has been going on for years.

“We are turned away and told there is no space when we enquire about the status of our children’s admission,” said a concerned parent, Maphuthi Folosha.

“But what is strange is that I could be told that there is no space for my children for a certain grade and the next day you find them taking in children who only went there to register that very same day.”

Folosha said she tried to meet with the principal of Laerskool Oost-Eind Primary School last week.

“I wasted time to come here only to be sent back and be told I should wait for communication from the school, but nothing has been communicated to me,” said Folosha.

South African parents have expressed this with the principals and the school governing bodies who have done little to accommodate children, especially those starting their first year at school.

READ MORE: Lesufi forces Pretoria schools to admit pupils

Parents from one of the Pretoria primary schools accused the school of not only admitting learners based on their nationality but being geographically excluded.

Another parent, Dumisang Ntimande, said he failed to understand how his daughter, who was meant to start Grade 1 at Sunnyside, was turned away while he lived with her at his rented apartment in Troye Street, a block away from the school.

Ntimande said most of the learners admitted were not from within the school’s radius.

Ntimande said he had to take his child to a private school in central Pretoria, and pay more in school fees and for transport, which he wouldn’t have had to do if his daughter were admitted to the school.

“The schools take in children from faraway places while those who live nearby are hardly placed. We are forced to take our children to schools in town. Maybe an admission policy was introduced and not communicated to us [parents] about who qualifies for entry to the school,” he said.

The department’s spokesperson, Oupa Bodibe, said: “The Constitution affords every child the right to education irrespective of nationality, race or religion. Learners are admitted to schools based on meeting the admission criteria and on a first come, first serve, principle.”

Bodibe said the department had prioritised early applicants that registered online before 2 June 2016 for placement before considering any late applicants.

– Caxton News Service

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