[lg policy] Pupils turned away because they don't speak Afrikaans, says department.

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue Jan 9 10:56:49 EST 2018

 School And Education Dept Head To Court Over Rejection Of Pupils Pupils
turned away because they don't speak Afrikaans, says department.
Zolnierek via Getty Images

Johannesburg – Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging will head to the North
Gauteng High Court on Tuesday to try and overturn a Gauteng education
department decision forcing the school to accept an additional 55 pupils.

Hoërskool Overvaal's governing body brought the urgent application after
the Gauteng education department took an administrative decision to place
the pupils in the school, above the 142 pupils already accepted by the

The 55 pupils all applied to Hoërskool Overvaal.

The school maintains that it has reached its capacity while the department
said the pupils were denied places based on their language preference.

In its answering affidavit, the education department said language could
not be used to segregate pupils.

The school's Afrikaans-only language policy was previously rejected by the
education department.

*Still fighting 'separatist language'*

In its affidavit, the department said Afrikaans was a language that
symbolised "sorrow and tears to the majority of those whom it was not their
mother tongue".

"Today... we still fight the same separatist language exacerbated by a
denial of transformation by certain sectors of society."

The department also maintained that it had the right to place the pupils at
the school.

"A school governing body plays no part in the process of admission of
learners and does not declare [that the school is filled to capacity] as
that is the duty of the department."

It said the school, with 21 classrooms, has a capacity of 840 learners, but
currently only accepts 621.

Additional furniture and textbooks have already been procured and an
English educator will be appointed for the pupils, the department said.

The school is set to open for the 2018 academic year on January 17.


 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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