Refugee girl starts school after education department refuses to admit her

2017-02-01 19:06
(File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg – After being sent from pillar to post in a bid to register her little girl in school, a refugee mother can now breathe a sigh of relief.

With help from the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), the woman successfully registered her daughter in school on Wednesday.

This was after her six-year-old girl had already missed two weeks of the academic year.

According to the the LRC’s Kelly Kropman, the woman had approached the department of education to apply for her daughter, who is also a refugee, to be placed in Grade 1 this year.

“When she applied [on April 16, 2016], she was advised that she would receive an SMS indicating which school her daughter would be placed in," said Kropman, adding that by January 9 she had still not received any communication. 

The department had also told her that her daughter was not on its list.  She was also told to fill in a new form. 

"After a week she still had not received any communication from the Department of Education and so [she] visited their offices again. On this visit, she was informed that her daughter was not placed in a school because her daughter does not have an identity number and, therefore, does not qualify for placement in public schools."

She was advised she would need to get a passport and a study visa for her daughter in order to register for a public school. 

The woman sought assistance from the LRC, which then intervened in the matter. 

Kropman said the LRC sent a letter to the department stating that the Constitutional right to education extends to “everyone, including non-South Africans”.

Soon after this, the department reached out to the woman, Kropman said.  

“[On Tuesday] the Department of Education informed Mrs T that she may approach her school of choice to register her daughter.”

Wednesday marks the little girl’s first day at school, she said.

Spokesperson for education department Oupa Bodibe said he would respond in due course.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education  |  refugees

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