Montana High pupils in 'jeopardy' over forced admissions - principal

2017-01-12 08:15
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Johannesburg – The Gauteng education department’s attempt to enrol more pupils at Hoërskool Montana than it has capacity for will place current pupils in jeopardy, its principal has said.

Doing so would cause “irreparable harm,” Pieter Nel said in papers filed with the High Court in Pretoria.

“Learners cannot be admitted to a school where they cannot be accommodated. The health and safety of current learners will be placed in jeopardy. There is no suitable remedy.”

Hoërskool Montana and Hoërskool Overkruin, both in Pretoria, lodged an urgent application in the high court on Tuesday in a bid to stop the department from enrolling more pupils at their schools. The court struck the matter off the roll on Wednesday, saying it was not urgent.

According to court papers, Montana had capacity for 245 pupils, but 340 had been enrolled.  Overkruin could accommodate 250 pupils, but 298 pupils had been enrolled.

Capacity constraints

Nel said the department wanted to enrol more pupils seeking instruction in English at the two high schools. He said the department expected the schools to accept these pupils, regardless of capacity constraints.

“Learners must be enrolled at schools without creating circumstances where they are sent from pillar to post and without creation of expectations on the ability of the schools to accommodate them, when in fact no such accommodation is possible,” said Nel in his affidavit.

He said the school’s governing body had no option but to bring the application.

“The department appears to be intent on acting in a manner that is unlawful, ostensibly in the hope that the illegality of its actions will be clothed by legality once the additional students have been enrolled.”

The department’s actions were in conflict with the national and provincial education legislation and department regulations, he said.

Nel criticised the department’s centralised electronic admission system, which was introduced in February last year. Despite warnings to the department that the system would crash, it went live.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education

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