‘Hoërskool Overvaal must transform'

‘Hoërskool Overvaal must transform'

The Gauteng Department of Education says Hoërskool Overvaal in Vereeniging cannot refuse to admit 55 learners due to a language policy. 

School library, school books

The department is opposing an urgent application by the school to have the court overturn its decision to place the English-speaking pupils. 

The department delivered its arguments in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Advocate Kumbirai Toma told the court the Education Act stipulates that language alone cannot be a reason to reject a learner from a school.  

"The context in which I am bringing this to the court now, is because we are dealing with admission where learners were rejected or refused placement on the basis of language. If an English speaker applies to an Afrikaans medium institution, they have to be admitted as long as the qualify based on the admission criteria.” 

He says according to the norms and standards admission criteria stipulates that the learner or the parent of the learner have to reside or work not more than a five kilometres away from the school.

Toma rejected any suggestion by the school that it does not have capacity to admit the learners. 

"The school originally had 23 classrooms and converted four classrooms into special rooms and some into labs. The department only gave approval for the school to convert two classrooms into special classrooms. If the two of the special classrooms are reconverted to learning classrooms and an English dducator or educators are provided, there will be space for the English medium pupils," said Tamo. 

He brought evidence that indicated that the community had petitioned and held a meeting in 2016 requesting that the school allow an English class as it is the only secondary school serving five suburbs in that are multi-racial. 

Judge William Prinsloo is expected to deliver judgement on Monday afternoon. 

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