Key school ruling by ConCourt today

2013-05-09 00:00

TODAY’S ruling in the Constitutional Court on whether the government or governing bodies have the right to decide the pupil capacity at a Rivonia school will be closely watched by education experts.

In this case, the Gauteng Department of Education wanted to force Rivonia Primary School in Sandton to take in a pupil after the school’s governing body had said the school had admitted all the pupils it could handle.

The case ended in the courts, and at the end of 2011 the high court ruled in favour of the department. The appeal court then ruled in favour of the school and stated that the Gauteng MEC for Education should not interfere with the policy decisions of the governing body. The MEC then applied for leave to appeal in the Constitutional Court.

Paul Colditz, CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies in SA Schools, said that if the ConCourt ruled that government could in future dictate school policies, parents would increasingly withdraw from being involved in school governing bodies. This would lead to less money for extra teachers, teaching aids and infrastructure.

Chris Klopper, head of the SA Teachers’ Union, said the union hoped for a verdict that would maintain a balance between the rights of the governing body and the government.

He said the trend in successful systems was for parents to have more say in the education of their children. This contributed to parents and communities taking ownership of their schools.

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