[lg policy] Judgment on school pupils who want to attend Gauteng ‘Afrikaans school’ due on Monday
haroldfs at gmail.com
Mon Jan 15 09:58:41 EST 2018
South Africa <https://citizen.co.za/category/news/south-africa/> 14.1.2018
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[image: January 14 - Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi (seated) at the
High Court in Pretoria during the hearing in the matter between the
department and Hoerskool Overvaal on Friday. Photo: ANA/Brenda Masilela]
January 14 - Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi (seated) at the High
Court in Pretoria during the hearing in the matter between the department
and Hoerskool Overvaal on Friday. Photo: ANA/Brenda Masilela
Hoerskool Overvaal’s lawyers argued that the department had failed in
determining the capacity of the school before making a decision on placing
the 55 pupils.
The 55 school pupils who want to be admitted to a school which only
accommodates Afrikaans-speaking pupils will know on Monday whether they
will be able to attend the school and be taught in English.
Hoerskool Overvaal in Vereeniging and the Gauteng education department were
embroiled in a court battle on Thursday and Friday, with the school
insisting it cannot admit the pupils because of capacity constraints and a
lack of resources.
The school also contended that the department could not simply give
instructions and enforce something which was against the school’s policy.
The school’s advocate Albert Lamey further argued in the High Court in
Pretoria that the school was not geared for dual-medium instruction, and
said the department had failed in determining the capacity of the school
before making a decision on placing the 55 pupils.
“That is apart from language policy. It is of grave concern that procedures
have been managed in this fashion… No wonder it’s chaos, placing learners
and then the problem is thrown to the governing body,” he told the court.
Lamey said there had been a sharp increase in the number of pupils of all
races who wanted to learn Afrikaans at the school.
Advocate Kumbirai Toma, for the department, hit back, dismissing the
school’s arguments. The school did indeed have capacity to accommodate the
pupils because it had admitted 20 more Afrikaans-speaking pupils after the
department had instructed it on December 5 to reserve space for the 55
English-speaking pupils, he said.
“If capacity was a problem, the school would not have space for these 20
learners.” The school had been built with 23 classrooms, but only 17 were
used for classes while the others had been converted into specialised
centres without the department’s authority. The school had approval to
convert only two classrooms.
“In an essence, capacity is not an issue. There are five classrooms that
can be used to teach learners in English,” Toma said. He also argued that
the demographics of the community had changed and it would make sense for
the school to adapt to societal change.
“The admission criteria says learners who live in a 5km radius from the
school and wish to be admitted, they can do so despite the school’s
language policy.” The school should also not be bothered about how the
pupils would be taught, because that was the department’s concern, he said.
The school approached the court to review and set aside the department’s
instruction to admit the 55 pupils. Judge Bill Prinsloo indicated on Friday
that due to lack of time he would only be able to hand down judgment at 2pm
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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