Sat. Nov 23rd, 2019

Gauteng Education Dept postpones 2020 school online application process

Soweto rape Luminus Secondary SchoolLesufi warned that no learner would be restricted access to school due to language preferences.

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Gauteng Education MEC. Panyaza Lesufi has revealed that the 2020 school online applications for Grade One and Eight learners in the province, has been postponed following objections from school governing body associations (SGB) and lobby groups.

As reported by SABC News, Lesufi noted in a statement that he was forced to postpone the launch of the online application process after he received indictment threats from AfriForum, Suid Afrikaanse Onderwysers Unie (SAOU), as well as meeting requests from SGB associations like the Federation of Associations of Governing Bodies of South Africa (FEDSAS).

Why are Gauteng 2020 school online applications postponed?

The concern, he revealed, was related to certain flaws in the system, one of which includes its failure to make provisions for language.

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Lobby groups like AfriForum and SAOU have urged the education department to reconsider the placement of school children based on the feeder zone factor.

According to this new amendment, the home address of the learner would be one of five determinants of the school they would be placed in, so long as it is within the prescribed 30km radius (adjusted from 5km).

The concern for the aforementioned lobby groups, however, is that the department did not consider the language of learning and teaching (LOLT) practices of some schools.

In a bid to uphold the status quo of Afrikaans-centric learning and teaching, AfriForum and SAOU have questioned the likelihood of such schools having to accommodate learners who come from different LOLT backgrounds.

“When determining feeder zones no regard is given to language preference of learners as language of learning and teaching (LOLT) or language policies of schools as LOLT when parents or legal guardians are offered the opportunity to apply to a school of choice”, the groups noted in a letter sent to the department by a law firm representing them.

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Lesufi to meet with lobby groups and SGB associations

In response, Lesufi indicated that the department would gladly meet with the associations and groups to note their concerns with the perceived flaws in the system.

However, he warned that language would not be a hindrance in the department’s efforts to institute inclusivity and access to equal education.

“There will be no school that will close out other children because they feel their language is more important and they should study alone in that language. If the facilities are fully utilised, there’s no problem but if facilities are not fully utilised, we will bring other children that want to be taught in other languages.

“If people believe South Africa does not belong to all of us, it’s unfortunate. This country belongs to all of us and there is no one who is going to stop non-racialism in this country,” he said.

The online application process, according to the department, will reopen on Monday, 20 May at 8:00 and close on 22 July at 23:59

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