Editorial: Give all children the best

Children at Kgoro Primary in Zithobeni township, north of Bronkhorstspruit (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G).

Children at Kgoro Primary in Zithobeni township, north of Bronkhorstspruit (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G).

The so-called default school feeder zone regime has become a huge bone of contention. Basically this regulation stipulates that pupils living within a 5km radius of a school are eligible to attend that school and those living beyond 5km would be placed on a separate waiting list. Herein lies the problem.
Schools have, time and again, admitted only very few pupils from the B list. There are thousands of pupils from Soweto who have yearned to attend schools in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg but were denied the opportunity because they lived on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. 

Those parents who desperately wanted their children to attend the well-resourced schools have even resorted to lying by providing false residential addresses in a bid to get their children into a top school. The nongovernmental organisation Equal Education has slammed the default feeder zone regime as discriminatory and is calling for it to be scrapped. This despite a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling in October last year that it was rational and reasonable. 

See Court tussle over school feeder zones resumes

The Supreme Court of Appeal found that it attempted to ensure that learners had ready access to schools that were closest to their homes or their parents’ workplace. 

Equal Education has argued that there was an inextricable link between race and geography in South Africa and that apartheid spatial planning continues to perpetuate educational segregation. It is of the opinion that proximity alone should not be used in the determination of feeder zones. 

Our children are entitled to top-quality education and to the best teachers and teaching resources available regardless of whether they live in the former townships. To deprive them of this right would be a travesty of justice. 

The Gauteng education MEC has yet to determine new school feeder zones. He has indicated that he will not comment on this issue until the outcome of the case we reported on this week. The ball is now in his court.

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