Editorial: New school rules rule

Pupils should not have to wake up before dawn to travel to distant suburbs to get what is perceived to be a good education, or at least a better education, than they would receive at their neighbourhood school. But the realities of apartheid spatial planning and the legacies of former model C schools continue to inform a daily migration for thousands of schoolchildren.

Children as young as seven are up at 4am, squeezed into minibus taxis that transport them to former model C schools. Along the route, they will pass many primary schools with dwindling numbers of enrolments or that have closed because there are not enough children to teach.

All this is a result of parents seeking a better education for their children, an education they do not think is available in the townships.

The ideal, of course, is for schools in townships to offer the same quality of education as a former model C school.

But just getting children enrolled at these former model C schools has been difficult for most parents because, for reasons such as being able to afford school fees or because they don’t live within a 5km radius of the school, they are blocked.

In Gauteng, parents have had to lie and produce fake residential addresses or apply using friends’ addresses to get their children into these schools. Others have had to use their work addresses to enable their children to be enrolled.

Now the new feeder zone regulations the Gauteng department of education will implement in two years’ time mean parents won’t have to lie about where they live to get their children admitted into these schools. Parents won’t have to transport their children to other areas because the schools in their neighbourhood only teach in one language.

These regulations will give preferential rights to pupils to attend the school closest to them, no matter whether they apply first or last, as long as they have applied during the admission period.

Pupils who live within a 30km radius of a school will be admitted to the school as long as it has space.

This is a revolutionary step in the right direction by Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. It will ensure that public schools are opened to every child in the province who wants to attend them and that quality education does not benefit only people who can afford it, speak a certain language or have a certain skin colour. It is a logical step towards ensuring quality education for all.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

A Mtubatuba councillor and a Hammarsdale ANC Youth League leader were shot yesterday near their homes

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Press Releases

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations