Ten years ago, whilst applying to a former model C high school in the Cape Town area for this daughter, Adiel Ismail, noticed that the schools admissions policies for learners were not aligned with the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) policies. Ismail then went ahead to query these policies.
These inconsistencies were first brought to Ismail’s attention when he applied to have his daughter enter an unnamed high school. When Ismail sent in his daughter’s application, he addressed the school with these issues and his daughter’s application was taken and subsequently successful. Other parents however are unaware that certain policies implemented by schools are in fact illegal.
“These inconsistencies can be noted when comparing the schools policies with that of the WCED as well as with the South African schools act (SASA),” Mr Ismail stated.
“These contraventions were brought to the WCED 10 years ago,” Ismail said adding that the case is still ongoing.
A meeting will be held next week where the National Department of Education will meet with the WCED to discuss these inconsistencies.
“The schools governing body with its autocratic behaviour were not prepared to address these issues,” Ismail added stating that initially he had addressed the SGB before going to the WCED with this matter.
It is Ismail’s opinion that the WCED has a number of former Model C schools under its jurisdiction and does not want to interfere with the management of these schools as they are top performing schools.
One of the issues is that these former Model C schools reject certain applicants as they do not live in the area in which the school is located.
“Many of our learners are being prevented from attending these schools because of these archaic practices,” Ismail went further.
Paddie Attwell, spokesperson for the WCED, stated that the Western Cape does not apply a zoning policy where schools must enrol children from their area, but schools by tradition give preference to pupils from their local area.
Attwell also noted that the practice of charging application fees is illegal and that the issue comes up every year.
Parents enrol their kids in a few schools which charge a non-refundable application fee. Ismail urges parents not to pay these fees as the school goes against government policy when asking for an application fee, whatever they may call it.
Parents are also encouraged to look up SASA as well as the WCED policies when applying to schools for their children as this may make a big difference on whether the child attends a specific school or not. VOC (Umarah Hartley)