Georgina Guedes

Queuing for an education

2013-04-18 11:24

Georgina Guedes

Yesterday, I saw the queues for parents to register their children for Parkview Primary, on the front page of The Star newspaper. It’s the kind of image that constricts my heart with a fist of terror - I want to send my kids to a government school, and chances are that this is what I will be up against.

Every parent wants what's best for their children. Health, education and happiness are the three fundamentals that we can attempt to offer them to set them up for success in later life. In trying to balance the three, we have to make sacrifices and hard choices.

I could just about afford to send my two children to a private school, but it would mean a significant drop in our quality of life, and countless other opportunities would be denied them as a result. Because of this, my husband and I have decided that, for primary school at least, we will send our kids to one of two local government schools.

We are fortunate that we live in an area where there are still good public schools. How I rate "good" is a combination of academics, good vibes and a good cultural mix. A few of my friends with older children have sent theirs to both of these schools, and are very happy with the results.

At the same time as I feel genuine fear for my own situation (will I really have to camp on a pavement for two nights to get my children into a decent school?), I am aware that I am still far more privileged than most of the population of this country. I still have options.

And while, of course, I am going to continue to try to do what's best for my own children, I'm filled with throat-tightening empathy for those who have no choice but to send their children to the closest, understaffed, underserviced excuse for a government school, knowing that this will not enable them to break the cycle of poverty.

Which again brings me to the point of disgust at the fact that education is still not a priority for our government - this one thing that could mean a future for the majority of South Africans. Instead, we see ever-lowered pass rates to create the impression of improved results, failure to deliver text books for two years running, and a general mockery of one of the most important services a government can offer.

Here's hoping that someone, somewhere in government will begin to take responsibility for a brighter future for all the children of South Africa, and we’ll see fewer queues for the handful of decent government school still left.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

- News24


The spectre of war

2014-04-17 12:11

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Thursday Somerset West - 15:38 PM
    Road name: N2 Outbound
    DELAYS through Somerset West (weekend holiday volumes)
  • Thursday Newlands - 15:36 PM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS between Woolsack Drive and Wynberg Hill
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.