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Scrap the school zoning system!

 
Where you live should not affect your choice of school, suggests Masanda.
By Masanda Peter
Article originally in Parent24
In 2012, while looking for a school for my son, I was shocked and disappointed with the fact I had to take him to schools within the area where I lived or near to my place of work. There was a particular school I wanted to take my son to but when I produced my residential address I was told to go to schools within my catchment area. I felt that this was unfair because my freedom to choose a school was being compromised. Fortunately I managed to find a good school for my son, but the experience was very dismaying.

Forced to settle for second-best

A friend of mine from Soweto was told that the school she wanted to send her son to did not fall within her catchment area. She was frustrated by the process and felt that it was unfair. She was not prepared to send her son to a school in Soweto- as a schoolgirl she went to a Model C school and now to send her son to a township school is not what she wanted. This is a mother who wanted the best for her child and we all know that some township schools are in shambles. Parents are therefore prepared to work extra hard and provide the best education for their kids. Now when they are being prevented to access the best then this becomes a problem.

Not every parent can afford to take their child to a private school. Yes, the government should be upgrading township schools but it is not happening at the moment. Where does this leave the parent coming from a township? There is not much investment in township schools and parents want to access the best for their kids and the best choice is former Model C schools.

Fake addresses

This is one system that needs to be scrapped and allow us parents to take our kids to schools we prefer - the right to choose. Maybe it is a system to control the numbers and give a chance to kids staying in a particular area first but this totally unacceptable. Some people even "borrow" addresses so that their kids can access certain schools, to look as if they stay in that area. Desperate measures in desperate times.
 
What I found interesting as well is that the office managers/receptionists at the schools were happy to give me the contact number of the department of education should I have further queries on the matter. I did feel failed by the government. What happens to the right to quality education and the right to choose?

The catchment area system needs to be scrapped as it disadvantages some parents.

Read more by Masanda Peter

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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