Hands off principals - union

2012-11-30 22:06
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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Bloemfontein - A decision in favour of Rivonia Primary School's governing body in the Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday was described as an enormous victory for public schools.

The Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools (Fedsas) said it was a victory against the increasing bureaucracy in education.

The SCA ruled that the governing body of a public school - not the provincial education authorities - had the authority to determine the number of children the school may admit.

The court unanimously held that a provincial government had no authority to override a school's policy.

Fedsas CEO Paul Colditz said it was the umpteenth time that a court judgment had confirmed the fundamental constitutional rights of parents and children, more specifically the rights of governing bodies.

According to the SCA judgment, the provincial government had made an issue out of the fact that the school was located in an affluent, historically white suburb and had benefited from apartheid.

It was done to justify an argument that the Gauteng education MEC ought to have the power to override a school's policy, to ensure that schools in historically white areas did not entrench racially discriminatory privilege.

The court said the facts of the case showed these assertions were not relevant in deciding the issue.

The judges hoped the Gauteng education department would act on their suggestion to rectify the injustice done to the school's principal, Carol Drysdale.

It suggested the department retract the disciplinary sanctions against her and issue a public apology, considering that they had been willing to humiliate her in public.

The SCA ordered the MEC, the head of the Gauteng education department, and the district director of Johannesburg East, to pay the costs of the appeal.

Fedsas said the judgment confirmed its current court application to set aside the Gauteng education department’s new unlawful regulations regarding admissions.

"School principals are often the targets of the department’s interference, but the judgment is very clear on the issue: Hands off the principals," Fedsas said.

Fedsas is a voluntary association of school governing bodies of public schools claiming to represent about 1 460 public schools.




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