Schools should open their doors to all: iLIVE
The admission of children to schools remains a contentious issue that often pits the government against principals and school governing bodies.
This is despite the serious transformation of public schools, especially at basic education level, since 1994, which has arguably surpassed many other sectors of society.
Still we hear or read about a governing body or school that is taking the government to court, accusing authorities of interfering with school matters that should be the mandate of the governing body.
On the other hand, parents often accuse schools and governing bodies of trying to prevent the enrolment of pupils under the pretext that the school is full or the child does not reside in the feeder area.
The recent case of the education authorities and the Rivonia Primary School highlights this challenge.
There is a problem of rapid development of new homes across Gauteng. Wherever these developments mushroom, there are usually no schools and clinics.
This puts pressure on existing schools.
Education authorities, municipalities and the provincial and national governments need to force developers to provide all the basics such as schools.
The Schools Act says all stakeholders in education must accept responsibility for the organisation of schools and points out that parents and members of local communities are often in the best position to know what a school really needs and what its problems are.
Having said this, the law does not sanction discrimination of children on the basis of neighbourhoods in which they live.
Schools should be opened to all because failure to do that could result in an "us" and "them" mentality.
We can only feel part of one society if our children are allowed to go to the same schools.
Right now, most parents spend heavily on transporting their children to schools far from where they live.