AfriForum wants to help Gauteng schools with placement problems

Henry

AfriForum would like to help Afrikaans schools in Gauteng that have problems with placements of learners from gr. 1 to gr. 8 for next year.

The placement of learners begins on 4 September and will continue until the end of the year and all learners have been placed.

By Sunday, a total of 757,075 applications for placement had already been received. Just over 35,000 of these were marked as incomplete – so no proof of home address was submitted.

According to Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s head of cultural affairs, the Gauteng education department is once again under great pressure to accommodate learners who have applied for placement in the province.

“It is an annual dilemma that can be attributed to the department not being able to provide sufficient schools to meet the growing demand in the province,” says Bailey.

“What makes it even more worrying is that the province has rarely spent money allocated over the years to build more schools, which is just another indication of the department’s mismanagement.”

According to Bailey, a further challenge is the dysfunctional schools in Gauteng which cause parents not necessarily to place their children in the schools closest to them, but understandably try to find a place for the children in functional schools.

“When it does not succeed, it does not encourage the department to be accountable and fix schools, but all kinds of populist statements are made – such as claiming that Afrikaans single-medium schools are the cause of the problem.”

AfriForum learned of Afrikaans schools that are under great pressure to accommodate more classes, for which their infrastructure does not provide. Bailey says the option of cramming more children into a class not only threatens the children’s physical safety, but also compromises the quality of the education offered.

Another option, namely to force single-medium Afrikaans schools that are already full of Afrikaans learners to make room for English learners with parallel medium or dual medium education, will mean that Afrikaans learners have to give way to English learners, which only exacerbates the dilemma worsened, says Bailey.

“Furthermore, there is legion of evidence locally and internationally that these schools will eventually become single-medium schools again, but then in the dominant language, which in this case is English. Conversion to parallel medium or single medium teaching is fatal for Afrikaans mother tongue teaching.

“AfriForum will be happy to help Afrikaans schools that are experiencing placement problems of this nature. Governing bodies are advised to first take up the bottlenecks directly with their circuit manager and other authorized officials of the department and keep a record of the discussions. “If this does not have the desired effect, AfriForum will be happy to help. The governing bodies can then give AfriForum a mandate to take legal action on their behalf.”

Any inquiries in this regard can be sent to education@afriforum.co.za.

RNews earlier reported that text messages will be sent to parents from 4 September, with the MEC for education in Gauteng, Matome Chiloane, saying that not everyone will receive them on the same day. Should parents not receive an SMS, they can still check the status of an application online at www.gdeadmissions.gov.za.