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It takes a village to get a child placed in school

Mumtaz Moosa | mumtazs@icloud.com
January 24, 2023, | 13:15 PM CAT
2 min read 

Photo Credit: Inside Education

Many parents are still looking for placements in schools within the Johannesburg North area, it’s been over ten days, and many have resorted to asking people within communities to help or find ways to help their child get into a school closer to home.

With many fee-paying schools having limited space, some are forced by the department to accept placements into schools far from their homes or workplace. Parents should have a choice of fee-paying schools, especially if they fall under the current school’s feeder areas, but here we are almost two weeks into the new school year, and many children do not have a place in schools. Many are forced to seek private or online education.

Universities also have an issue where they have more applications than seats that force parents to seek out private institutes; this is also the time of the year when fly-by-night colleges and higher education centres pop up, promising the world.

Recently a friend of mine had to resort to asking parents for help to get her child placed. She has tried the Department of Education and every possible channel as her child, entering Grade 8, has not been placed. The only school offering her a seat is 45 km from her home. What do parents do?

The right to an education is entrenched in our Constitution, but what happens when fee-paying schools no longer have space and the only other option you have are the schools that have been poorly managed that are about to fall apart?

We are in an age where we have seen a population increase over the years, and sadly no new fee-paying schools or government schools have opened within the Johannesburg north region. There are not enough schools, and most parents cannot afford private school fees as the cheapest within our community is well over R10 000 a month, and the most affordable fee-paying government school in our area for high school is R3600 a month.

While fee-paying for government primary schools in the area costs about R 2600 a month and private about R 9500 a month makes parents feel inadequate that a basic human right cannot be fulfilled due to finical constraints.

University is also no walk in the park as many parents hope their child will be accepted with the limited seats, or they will be forced to seek out private colleges that cost almost double the price of universities.

We need change within our country; we need to push for more educational facilities to be built, as this cannot be a continuous battle for parents. In the same breath, this has caused many xenophobic blasts on social media where parents ask why foreign children should be placed when South African children cannot. I must ask the next question: are we as parents also to be blamed for not putting our kids in the closest school and opting for a good fee-paying school?


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