Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News- 2013-05-12
Are parents apprehensive and deterred by the number of blacks, colored’s, Indians or whites before enrolling their kids in a school? Does this affect their decision as to which school to enroll their kids?
If the decision by parents is influenced by race, creed or colour, does that mean parents are prejudiced and racist?
One Radio Islam listener @rdadabhay tweeted, “yes they do. That’s Y we have ‘muslim’ schools. Y can’t our children go to state schools n be an exampl to non -muslim kids?”
Muslim schools would however rebut and argue saying that they do not only accommodate Muslims, but all races. But because it just so happens that the school is located in an area where the majority are Indian children therefore the demographics’ of the school would be majority Indian.
Another Radio Islam listener @sadiyyav tweeted, “yes we do look at race. If we didn’t my child would b going 2 the school across the road 4rm me nd ¼ the fees.”
While @Aadil_14 tweeted, “hav u seen d standard of education in state schools?? Disastrous is nt even d word…”
A SMS message by an anonymous Radio Islam listener read, “yes I look at race because we worry of the company our kids will be with and they will pickup behavior in way of living from kids of different races.”
So, has anonymous’ SMS hit the nail on the head? Is the SMS a true reflection of attitudes of parents towards other races? If not, then why do parents resort to segregating their children from other races?
According to responses received by Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat when he posed the question on Radio Islam’s Sabaahul Muslim morning drive programme, one response was, “more black students = low education standard while more white students = high education standard.” Another response indicated that it’s not racism but rather cultural preferences and based on a particular environment they want their kids to be exposed to.
However other responses indicated that black students at private schools were extremely intelligent and it’s not the level of education at an institution, but rather the quality of its teachers.
Nicky Steyn from Section 27 told Moulana Ravat that any policy which controls the admission of learners on the grounds of their race or any element related to their race can arguably be classified as discriminatory.
Steyn says, “Parents do have a right to choose where their children go to school and that's obviously subject to admissions regulations and the feeder zones of the schools. And of course that is in reality one of the factors (the race issue) that will come in. So from the parent’s point of view, I think in some ways it is a preference as long as it stays as you know, one of the outcomes into deciding which school to send the child to.”
“But a soon as it comes from the SGB in saying ‘we will only admit this type of learner or you know we cannot admit you because you don’t fit in with the culture of the school, that is certainly discrimination and can’t be tolerated,” reiterated Steyn.
Meanwhile the Constitutional Court has reserved judgment in a landmark case over school admissions. The case of Rivonia Primary School vs. The Gauteng Education Department has already affected other legal battles including one over language policies in Fochville.
The Rivonia case was sparked by the schools refusal to admit a grade one pupil in 2011. The department argued that while governing bodies have the right to create policies, they have no power to enforce them to exclude pupils.
However Rivonia Primary fought back saying that the case was a clash of a functioning school against a disfunctioning education system which has failed to cope with an overcrowding crisis.