Jail for ‘misleading’ parents a proposal

2015-10-22 06:00

A PARENT who lies about where they live in order to get into a particular school could spend at least six months in jail, according to a bill proposed by the Basic Education Department.

Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools CEO Paul Colditz told News24 he supported this proposal, which had been discussed with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

“This is typically one thing we would welcome. Quite often you get a situation where parents give false information about their residence … so that their child can go to a particular school. This forces out other children who qualify for a place in that school,” he said.

This proposal and others were part of a proposed amendment bill from the department. According to the Sunday Times, other proposals included limiting the powers of school governing bodies (SGB) by preventing them from recommending the appointment of management, like principals, and instructing schools to adopt more than one language of instruction if the number of those speaking the existing language dropped.

One of the resolutions taken by the ANC during its national general council last weekend was for the powers of school governing bodies to be reviewed and for inspectors to be reintroduced in schools.

Colditz, however, opposed the proposal for a limitation of the powers of SGBs. He said the proposals were presented during a meeting with Motshekga last month.

“The minister said we should get together as partners to have a technical discussion about the proposals. They will arrange that technical meeting in due course.

“She said it was not urgent.”

Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said “there is a still a long way to go” before an actual bill was eventually released for public comment.

He said any information that was reported on the proposals was not based on a final version.

In May, Fedsas applied for an urgent application to halt the Gauteng Department of Education’s centralised admissions process for 2016 and its plan to convert single-medium schools to parallel-medium schools.

Judge Gregory Wright ruled that schools were entitled to prepare waiting lists for pupils, and take into account their own admission and language policies.

Part of the application dealing with the conversation to parallel-medium schools would be heard at a later date. Colditz said Fedsas is “perfectly willing” to work with the proposal over adopting another language of instruction for schools.

“We must promote multilingualism. However, if there is an instruction for another language of instruction, the state must provide the necessary resources for that.”

Matakanye Matakanya, the National Association of School Governing Bodies general secretary, said the language proposal was welcomed.

“That is really a problem. If you have that type of school [single medium] in the new South Africa, you are still reflecting apartheid,” he told News24. “Schools must be public schools where the community can discuss the medium of instruction and other languages, depending on what you want to have.” - News24

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