Deadline looms for Gauteng education dept's amendment of admission regulations

The deadline for public comment on draft amendments to public school admissions regulations is Thursday at midnight, the Gauteng education department said.

The department has been holding public meetings with parents and guardians at various schools, starting at Hoërskool Montana on August 22 and finishing at Hoërskool Overvaal on August 28, spokesperson Steve Mabona said on Thursday.

Mabona said the meetings were part of the consultative process to share the draft amendments, to receive input from the public and to get the public to participate in the process.

The consultations also sought to clarify roles, powers and responsibilities of school governing bodies (SGBs) on admissions, Mabona added.

Admissions at Gauteng schools have been a major talking point since dramatic activities at Hoërskool Overvaal in January 2017.

The school, which has Afrikaans as its medium of instruction, approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after the department attempted to place 55 pupils at the school, who would have had to be taught in English.

The amendments followed a Constitutional Court judgment against the department in July, which found that Hoërskool Overvaal did not have capacity to enrol English-speaking pupils.

On July 30, Lesufi published amendments to the regulations.

The regulations state that, among other things, a pupil may not be refused admission on any grounds that constitute unfair discrimination, including race, ethnic or social origin, colour, gender, sex and age.

It also states that the financial status of the parents may not be a deciding factor.

Meanwhile, the department has also reminded parents and guardians who applied for 2019 Grade 1 and 8 admissions between April 16 and May 28, to expect an offer of placement via SMS.

Mabona urged parents to visit www.gdeadmissions.gov.za to accept or reject the offers within seven working days of receipt of the SMS.