AfriForum and SSC tackle failings of Gauteng online school registration platform

The civil rights watchdog AfriForum and the Solidarity Movement’s School Support Centre (SSC) joined forces today to send an urgent letter from their legal team to the Gauteng Department of Education regarding the failings of the online school registration platform. This platform opens on 13 May 2019 for the 2020 learner registrations.

Both organisations are concerned about the manner in which the online school registration platform is set up: According to the department and the trial system it makes no provision for parents to choose themselves which school is their first choice for their children. The school located geographically closest to the parents’ residential address is simply provided as the primary choice, irrespective of the school’s language medium of instruction, subject selection or even hostel options.

With this urgent letter from its legal team AfriForum and SSC asks that the system be adapted or the process be postponed until the system can be revised so that parents can indeed make a choice based on these aspects.

Further both organisations feel strongly that any learners already registered for Gr. R at a primary school for this year must also be given preference for Gr. 1 placement at the same primary school for 2020.

AfriForum and SSC insists that the Gauteng Department of Education respond to the letter before or on 10 May 2019. Should this not take place, the organisations will undertake further legal action.

“We cannot allow the Gauteng Department of Education to decide about the education of children on behalf of their parents. This is in conflict with parents’ rights and in the process also disadvantages their children,” says Carien Bloem, AfriForum’s Project Coordinator for Education.

“Further it is clear that this is yet another way in which oxygen is given to the ideological flame. With this system Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng MEC for Education, tries to continue his attempts for phasing out Afrikaans as medium of instruction in primary and secondary education in favour of unilingual English instruction. He already plays the race card (regarding Afrikaans education) to convince parents that Afrikaans schools are the reason for his department’s annual failure to place all learners while he knows well that the blame lies with his own department, which builds insufficient schools and does not succeed in training enough mother-tongue teachers,” concludes Bloem.

Parents can keep abreast of the situation on AfriForum’s website under the link or on social media under #VIRSKOLE.

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