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‘Suburbs schools using apartheid policies’: parent

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A Western Cape parent has labeled the admission policies of some public schools in the province’s more affluent areas as akin to ‘apartheid like practices’. Many of these policies, according to him, are meant to limit the enrolment of poorer and less privileged students into these schools.

Adiel Ismail told VOC’s Breakfast Beat that many Model C school’s in more privileged communities were charging exorbitant school fees, making enrolment virtually unaffordable for the majority of people.

He said that in many cases, these schools had so far failed to bring about transformation, something unbeknownst to most parents. He added that many were getting away with these practices because parents were unaware of their rights in this regard. Ismail has also been actively campaigning against the withholding of reports of pupils who have not paid school fees in full.

Ismail pointed to Rondebosch based Westerford High, where prospective students were reportedly issued with acceptance letters that indicated parents would need to pay an admission fee prior to enrolment. He stressed that such a practice was illegal, and in breach of the South African School’s Act.

“At Westerford High School the request for an admission fee was illegal, and I’ve engaged the top brass at the WCED and convinced them that the schools acceptance letter for 2015 was illegal,” he said, adding that no school could compel a parent to pay an admission fee.

Another practice noted at such affluent schools was the use of ‘feeder zone’ admission criteria, where preference would be given to those staying close to, or within the vicinity of the school. This meant that disadvantaged applicants coming from afar were less likely to be included.

“Using feeder zones as admission criteria could also be interpreted as an exclusion method to keep blacks out of the school, and maintain a mainly white status,” he said, adding that no ordinary public school had the right to interview a prospective pupil prior to admission.

Ismail said it was imperative parents familiarized themselves with the admissions policies of the school where they were seeking to admit their child. It was also advisable to consult the WCED’s policies on student admission, as listed in its Circular 26.

“Parents should remember that the WCED’s policy is the constitution of education within the Western Cape. So the school’s policy should not contravene the WCED’s policy. If it does, then it is illegal,” he warned.

Ismail has sought to provide assistance to parents seeking school enrollment for their child, by providing insight on the department’s admission policies. Any parents seeking assistance or wishing to raise an issue of illegal admission practices may email him

The WCED was approached for comment but was unavailable for an interview . VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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