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Fri Jul 03 01:09:01 SAST 2015

Spend more time improving schools, less on meddling

Editorial | 07 December, 2012 00:19

WITH millions of people flocking to Gauteng and Western Cape, the education department will have to find alternative ways of catering for new pupils.

Roger Millson, head of the Governing Body Foundation in Gauteng, yesterday said that at least 40 schools in the province had been told to extend their capacity and take in extra pupils, raising fears of overcrowding.

With just a month to go before schools reopen next year, the fight between the education department and school governing bodies is likely to take centre stage.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that governing bodies had a right to determine their admission policies. This was after the Gauteng education department tried to bully Rivonia Primary School into accepting a pupil, even though the school was full.

The ruling by Judge Azhar Cachalia gave power back to governing bodies to determine admission policies.

With the government seemingly unable to build more schools, a lasting solution will have to be found before courts are forced to step in.

What the government should understand is that most parents decide to send their children to schools that are able to provide quality education. As long as we don't have decent education across the board, parents will vote with their feet and demand that their children be accommodated at any cost.

All this could be avoided if our education officials spent more time attending to improving the quality of education across the country.

With most better-quality schools having run out of space already, there is an increasing likelihood of more legal action by schools that want to maintain healthy numbers in their classrooms.

Though it is being celebrated by the school governing bodies, the appeal court ruling is a stop-gap measure.

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