Cape Town - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has reiterated that schools are not allowed to withhold report cards after a matriculant was refused his statement of symbols.
After getting his results, Iviwe Mayila was told by the principal of Wallacedene Secondary School that he owed money and wouldn’t get the document.
His uncle, Yedwa Mayila, explained: “My nephew recently finished matric at Wallacedene Secondary School in Kraaifontein. The school refused to give him and his mother the statement of symbols because of the money owed to the school, even though they couldn’t tell them the exact amount as they claim that the information is with a retired teacher who was Iviwe’s class teacher last year.
“We were worried that my nephew wasn’t going to apply for tertiary institutions without the document. The other concern was the deadline for NFSAS (National Financial Student Aid Scheme) that is around the corner and how it would have affected him.”
Yedwa told Independent Media that they had to buy two reams of copy paper before the school released the statement of symbols.
“My sister went back to the school and was told they would release it if she bought the papers. This all means that she paid. This is not fair. Imagine if my sister couldn’t afford to buy the papers, that would have destroyed my nephew.”
WCED spokesperson Unathi Booi said the school alleges that the learner left before receiving the statement of results and then returned to the school yesterday and had received the results.
“Schools cannot withhold a report card due to non-payment of school fees. However, schools can request that parents collect the report card from the principal or school management.
“This gives them the opportunity to discuss outstanding school fees and possible payment arrangements. In some cases, schools want to discuss the return of textbooks, or even raise concerns regarding the learner’s academic record in the past year.
“There is nothing illegal about this. It is also understandable that some schools would want to discuss non-payment of fees, given the financial circumstances schools find themselves in.
“After this discussion, a school cannot refuse to hand over the report card. If the parent still maintains that her or his child’s report is being withheld, the parent can contact the district office. However, it is suggested that if a request is made to collect the report card from the school, then the parent or guardian should do so.”