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Gauteng Education Dept heads to court over school's refusal to accept learners

The department asked Hoërskool Overvaal to take in 55 additional pupils for the 2018 academic year and its refusal has now prompted legal action.

FILE: Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Education Department is heading to the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday morning to challenge the refusal by an Afrikaans school in Vereeniging to take in additional pupils based on language differences.

There's been a spike in the number of pupils who want to learn at Gauteng schools this year, with 31,000 children still waiting to be placed.

The department asked Hoërskool Overvaal to take in 55 additional pupils for the 2018 academic year and its refusal, arguing it can only cater for Afrikaans speaking pupils, has now prompted legal action.

However, MEC Panyaza Lesufi says that this is no excuse for exclusion.

"The other thing that makes people believe they've got the right to deny other children the right to have access to quality education. What they're scared of, I don't know. Tell me what you are fearing, so that I can address those fears but if you don't tell us what those fears are, it is going to be very difficult for us to assist you."

Lesufi says that the department is under pressure and needs all the help from schools it can get.

“The other thing that makes the issue more difficult is that the school prefers to take only those that are speaking Afrikaans and this makes it difficult for us because we believe, as the department, it’s better to accommodate all learners rather than be selective and say I only need these types of learners.”