Lawyers help refugee learner start school

01 February 2017 - 16:14
By Jan Bornman

After missing almost three weeks of school due to administrative failures‚ a refugee girl started her first day in Grade One today.

Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) in Johannesburg intervened in a matter after the department of education informed Mrs T‚ a refugee‚ that she wouldn't be able to register her daughter.

After the LRC's intervention‚ Mrs T was able to register her daughter yesterday and the grade one learner stepped foot into her new school today.

In April last year‚ Mrs T approached the department of education to apply for her daughter to be placed in grade one this year‚ but she was advised that she would be notified via SMS to which school her daughter was placed.

The LRC said in a statement that by January 9 this year‚ Mrs T hadn't received any communication about the school of her choice‚ even though they said they would inform her of the progress of her application. The school informed Mrs T that her daughter couldn't be admitted because she wasn't on the department's list.

On the first day of the school year‚ Mrs T approached the department of education to enquire what else she should do to place her daughter in the school.

She was then instructed to fill in a new form and was told she would be contacted soon.

"After a week Mrs T still had not received any communication from the Department of Education and so visited their offices again. On this visit she was informed that her daughter was not placed in a school because her daughter does not have an identity number and‚ therefore‚ does not qualify for placement in public schools‚" the LRC said.

"She was further advised that she would need to get a passport and a study visa for her daughter in order to register for a public school.

"After an intervention from the LRC office in Johannesburg‚ in which we sent a letter to the Department stating that the Constitution’s right to education extends to 'everyone'‚ including non-South Africans‚ the Department of Education reached out to Mrs T.

On 31 January 2017‚ the Department of Education informed Mrs T that she may approach her school of first choice to register her daughter‚" the LRC said.