Home News City parents await school placement appeals, slam selection criteria

City parents await school placement appeals, slam selection criteria

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Northern Cape Department of Education rejects allegations of discrimination.

File picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

AS MANY city parents await the outcome of their school placement appeals from the Northern Cape Department of Education, they have slammed the selection criteria as being discriminatory towards certain learners.

According to the selection criteria that the department adopted for a learner to qualify for placement in a selected school, the department will look at whether the learner has a sibling or a parent or guardian working at the school. It will also take into account if the place of residence of the applicant learner is in the same suburb or adjacent to the school.

Parents have accused the department of turning local schools into “family legacy institutions”.

“There are many parents who live in areas situated far from the school, like Galeshewe or Roodepan, whose children are attending schools in the city. How was the criteria applied in those situations?” the parents asked.

“It is also unfair that the children who have a sibling attending the school stands a better chance of getting placement. What about the parents who only have one child? So, that school is only intended for families to boast that all their children attended the same school. A child who stays close to the school would not be regarded because the one with a sibling would then automatically get the space.”

Department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe rejected the allegations and said that the criteria were clearly outlined in the circular.

“It is the responsibility of the head of department (HOD) to determine the manner of learner admission applications. The admission criteria forms part of the management process in assisting the system. The HOD issues a circular to outline the process to determine admissions in public schools, including a selection criteria. This process was a consultative process with all relevant stakeholders and it has been an accepted norm for a very long time. Parents’ preferences are, most of the time, the reason for unhappiness,” said Van der Merwe.

He added that parents would know the outcome of their appeals before the opening of schools on February 15.

“It is the department’s responsibility to ensure that all children of school-going age are in schools. We are on track to manage the appeals and parents will get feedback before the opening of schools.

“The department will provide a comprehensive update on the online admissions and appeals in a statement later this week,” concluded Van der Merwe.