Fedsas: Dept targeting Afrikaans

2010-03-18 22:43

Bloemfontein - The Gauteng education department is trying to force three Afrikaans medium schools in Fochville to accommodate English pupils, schools' body Fedsas claimed on Thursday.

"The Gauteng education department ordered these three schools to change their language policy within two weeks (before 23 March) to accommodate English-speaking learners," said Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools Gauteng manager Melanie Buys.

The department was trying to force all three Afrikaans medium schools at Fochville - primary schools Losberg and Fochville and Hoƫrskool Fochville to accommodate English speakers.

Buys said for the past five years informal settlements between Fochville and Carletonville continued to grow and the need for education in English and Setswana increased drastically.

No money for double medium education

However the department had made no plans for new schools in the past 15 years.

The three Afrikaans schools in Fochville did not have the space, capacity or financial ability to carry the burden of double medium education, she said in a statement.

"Double and parallel medium education is much more expensive than single medium because you need double of everything, books, teachers and classrooms."

Fedsas said the Supreme Court of Appeal had ruled it was a school governing body's responsibility to determine language policy and this right was enshrined in the Schools Act.

Thus, it could not be expected of individual schools to carry the burden of providing quality education to all children in the country.

Increasing admin burden

Fedsas said the Gauteng education department in the Fochville case was trying to cover up its own poor planning.

Buys said in another matter the Gauteng education department told all Afrikaans medium schools in the Heidelberg district that all correspondence with the department must be in English.

This would increase the schools' administrative burden because all reports and assessments would have to be translated first.

Fedsas is a voluntary association of governing bodies of about 1 100 public schools.

The Gauteng education department was not immediately available to comment.