[lg policy] Afrikaans-only high school :Education officials want the school to admit 55 additional English language learners when the school opens next week.

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue Jan 9 10:50:43 EST 2018

Afrikaans-only high school
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Ilse de Lange
[image: Picture: Thinkstock]

Picture: Thinkstock
Education officials want the school to admit 55 additional English language
learners when the school opens next week.

The education department and an Afrikaans-only high school in Vereeniging
are squaring up for a legal battle about the admission of English-speaking

Hoërskool Overvaal has applied for an urgent interdict in the High Court in
Pretoria today to overturn a decision by the Gauteng education department
that the school must admit 55 additional English-language learners when the
school opens on January 17.

The department took the decision after the school turned away the
additional pupils, who all live within the vicinity of the school, claiming
it was already full.

The department’s district director for Sedibeng East, Criselda Makhubela,
in court papers disputed the allegation that the school was full, saying it
still had the capacity to accommodate the additional learners and would
even then not be filled to capacity.

Makhubela strenuously objected to the school’s governing body launching the
application, saying an SGB of a public school played no part in the process
of admission of learners and had no authority to declare that a school was
full, as only the department had that right.

She said it was clear that they “intended taking over the management and
control of the school from the department by usurping the powers of the
department over the school”.

The school alleged it only had 17 classrooms available, but Makhubela said
there were actually 21 classrooms available, which meant the current 621
Afrikaans learners, and still had the capacity for an additional 219
learners at 40 learners a class.

“Language cannot be used as a tool to segregate learners in violation of
the constitution, the School’s Act, Gauteng Schools Education Act and the
Gauteng admission policy,” she said.

She said the department had rejected the school’s language policy, the SGB
was notified to address the issue of the use of Afrikaans as a single
medium of instruction and the department had constantly engaged with the
SGB on the issue of taking English learners since 2016.

“It is unbelievable and unfortunate that even until today, in this
constitutional democracy, we still have a society that sees nothing wrong
with a language that was used as a tool of segregation and discrimination
during apartheid, which 90 percent of South Africans bemoan.

“A language whose legacy is sorrow and tears to the majority of those whom
it was not their mother tongue. Today, in this constitutional democracy, we
still fight the same separatist language, exacerbated by a denial of
transformation by certain sectors of society. That is not acceptable,” she
Judge Bill Prinsloo postponed the application until Thursday so that all
parties could read the school’s reply.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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