South Africa: Mikro pupils 'should stay where they are'
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Wed Sep 7 13:21:57 UTC 2005
>>From Cape Argus on September 06, 2005
Mikro pupils 'should stay where they are'
By Ashley Smith and Theresa Smith
The English-speaking Grade 1 pupils at Laerskool Mikro in Kuils River
should stay there until the end of the year, the Human Rights Commission
says. But Erhard Wolf, chairman of Mikro's governing body, says it is in
the children's best interests to move to a different school as soon as
possible. The commission said in a letter to the Western Cape education
department: "Briefly, it is our considered opinion that the best
interests of the children entail that:
a) These children should in fact be accommodated until the end of the
academic year at Mikro.
b) That all efforts be made to improve their learning conditions.
c) That they be registered as learners at Mikro Primary School."
Despite a high court order to move them to another school, the 16
English-speaking pupils are still at Mikro while the school and the
department try to find other places for them. None of the children are
formally registered at the Kuils River school which means they can't be
promoted to Grade 2 because they're not registered in Grade 1. At the end
of the year the department will have to make an administrative exception
to promote them.
When the education department ordered the school to take the children in
January, the school successfully appealed against the decision in the the
Cape High Court. The department appealed, but the Supreme Court of Appeal
upheld the school's right to choose its own language policy. Wolf said
they believed the parents would be happy for their children to move to De
Kuilen Primary, the nearby parallel medium primary, but he understood De
Kuilen had written to the department to refuse to accept the children.
The 16 children - whittled down from the 21 who started at Mikro at the
beginning of the year - knew they would move at some stage, and it was
preferable to do so sooner rather than later. Wolf said Mikro could not
accommodate the parents' request to use both English and Afrikaans in the
school assembly, provide information in English or find a proper classroom
for the children. They are currently in a small L-shaped room which Wolf
does not believe is suitable.
De Kuilen Primary principal Francois Lubbe referred all questions to his
school's governing body chairman, Jannie van Zyl, who said he would not
comment as the body was talking to the education department. Education
Minister Cameron Dugmore said discussions were under way to place the
children at another school but the department believed it was best for the
children to remain where they were until the end of the year.
This article was originally published on page 2 of The Cape Argus on
September 06, 2005
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