[lg policy] South Africa: Ermelo high school fights for Afrikaans

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 7 14:55:27 UTC 2009

Ermelo high school fights for Afrikaans
ERNEST MABUZA  Published: 2009/07/06 06:56:06 AM

THE admission policy of Hoërskool Ermelo was nonracial because the
school admitted pupils of all races willing to receive tuition in
Afrikaans, the school and its governing body have said in a written
submission to the Constitutional Court. The governing body and
Mpumalanga education department are litigating over the school’s
Afrikaans-only language policy. The school and the governing body are
opposing the department’s appeal against the Supreme Court of Appeal
judgment in March that the governing body, and not the department, had
exclusive power to determine the language policy of an existing

The matter is to be heard next month. In its submissions filed last
month, the department argued that the governing body’s preservation of
the Afrikaans language policy at the school at all costs demonstrated
that it intended to preserve the school exclusively for Afrikaners. In
January 2007, the governing body raised eyebrows when it refused to
change to a parallel AfrikaansEnglish policy to accommodate 27 pupils
who wanted to be taught in English. The head of department then
withdrew the function of determining the language policy from the
governing body.

Advocates for the school Wim Trengove SC and Nadine Fourie, said there
were 34 black pupils enrolled in 2007 who wanted to receive tuition in
Afrikaans. They said the accusations of racism were based on a
perception that the school’s language policy was designed to retain
the school’s resources for the exclusive benefit of its pupils to the
exclusion of others. Trengove and Fourie said the South African
Schools Act made it clear that the governing body was required to
determine the school’s language policy in the best interests of the
school and its pupils.

They argued that the school could not accommodate a parallel stream of
English pupils because it would require additional English classes for
every subject choice. “The school does not have any spare classrooms
to accommodate additional classes. It already uses all its classrooms.
 “The school can only accommodate an English stream by cutting down
its curriculum,” they said.
Trengove and Fourie said the education MEC had the duty to provide
enough public school places while a school’s language policy was left
to governing body’s discretion.

“It must exercise this discretion … in the interests of the school and
the quality of the education of its learners,” they said. The
governing body “need not have regard to the interests of the community
at large”.  Trengove and Fourie acknowledged that apartheid left a
vast discrepancy between the public and private resources of white and
black SA. They said formerly white public schools had been, and by and
large remained, better resourced than formerly black schools. They
also said formerly black public schools had been, and by and large
still were, poorly resourced.

mabuzae at bdfm.co.za

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of the list as to the veracity of a message's contents.
Members who disagree with a message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.
(H. Schiffman, Moderator)

For more information about the lgpolicy-list, go to

This message came to you by way of the lgpolicy-list mailing list
lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu
To manage your subscription unsubscribe, or arrange digest format: https://groups.sas.upenn.edu/mailman/listinfo/lgpolicy-list

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list