Parents concerned about admission policies of Western Cape Education Department
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Cape Town - A group of concerned parents in the province said the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) admission policy was “discriminating and prejudiced” against learners from previously disadvantaged communities.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer released a statement on the 2022 admission process which the parents called a “fluff of a response”.
Shorn Khumalo, whose niece’s application to Grade 8 next year was rejected by 10 schools, despite her good results and early application, said although the WCED was adamant about first looking at accepting those who lived in the area, admission should be solely based on academic performance and assessments.
Khumalo said, historically, the WCED knew previously disadvantaged people lived in townships, and the Western Cape spatial plan had been segregated since the apartheid era.
“By telling parents that they should apply in areas they live in is insensitive and undermining,“ he said.
Khumalo said parents send their children to schools outside their areas, and of their choice, based on, among other factors, the standard of education, access to resources, and the child’s potential.
Schäfer said the WCED recently outlined the appeal options available should parents be unhappy with the outcome of their application.
"We are in the early stages of the placement process. Schools make decisions in respect of all applications, applying their policies and the law, she said.
Schäfer said a parent who approached the media to try to jump the queue for schools of choice was not one of the criteria applied.
She said the WCED online process allowed a parent to apply to up to 10 schools. Encouraging parents to apply to at least one school in their area did not infringe on their rights.
“The schools receive the applications and do not have access to determine who has been accepted elsewhere, or the other schools that the parent applied to. Each school separately applies the admission policy.”
Vanessa Le Roux, founder of a group called Parents for Equal Education SA, said the admission policies were nothing but utter discrimination against children.
Equal Education Law Centre spokesperson Tad Khosa said admission policies and processes largely remained influenced by special inequalities and spatial injustice with schools in previously disadvantaged areas, and remained overcrowded under resources which affected the admissions crises.
He said some of the individual admission policies individual schools had could be said to be exclusionary.
Khumalo said parents claimed they were interrogated about where they lived and why they did not apply in areas they lived in.