Georgina Guedes

Queuing for an education

2013-04-18 11:24

Georgina Guedes

Yesterday, I saw the queues for parents to register their children for Parkview Primary, on the front page of The Star newspaper. It’s the kind of image that constricts my heart with a fist of terror - I want to send my kids to a government school, and chances are that this is what I will be up against.

Every parent wants what's best for their children. Health, education and happiness are the three fundamentals that we can attempt to offer them to set them up for success in later life. In trying to balance the three, we have to make sacrifices and hard choices.

I could just about afford to send my two children to a private school, but it would mean a significant drop in our quality of life, and countless other opportunities would be denied them as a result. Because of this, my husband and I have decided that, for primary school at least, we will send our kids to one of two local government schools.

We are fortunate that we live in an area where there are still good public schools. How I rate "good" is a combination of academics, good vibes and a good cultural mix. A few of my friends with older children have sent theirs to both of these schools, and are very happy with the results.

At the same time as I feel genuine fear for my own situation (will I really have to camp on a pavement for two nights to get my children into a decent school?), I am aware that I am still far more privileged than most of the population of this country. I still have options.

And while, of course, I am going to continue to try to do what's best for my own children, I'm filled with throat-tightening empathy for those who have no choice but to send their children to the closest, understaffed, underserviced excuse for a government school, knowing that this will not enable them to break the cycle of poverty.

Which again brings me to the point of disgust at the fact that education is still not a priority for our government - this one thing that could mean a future for the majority of South Africans. Instead, we see ever-lowered pass rates to create the impression of improved results, failure to deliver text books for two years running, and a general mockery of one of the most important services a government can offer.

Here's hoping that someone, somewhere in government will begin to take responsibility for a brighter future for all the children of South Africa, and we’ll see fewer queues for the handful of decent government school still left.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.