Equip township schools with better resources

This eight-year-old hasn't been to school this year because her parents don't want her in township school. The writers says parents like these have a point in keeping their kids away from schools with lesser facilities.
This eight-year-old hasn't been to school this year because her parents don't want her in township school. The writers says parents like these have a point in keeping their kids away from schools with lesser facilities.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Let us have the same standard of equipment in public schools, regardless of where they are located.

Yesterday, we reported a story of a group of parents in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, who chose to keep their kids at home instead of enrolling them at nearby township schools.

This was after they did not get spaces at former model C schools in town because they were full. They claimed the schools the department has allocated them were offering "inferior education", and did not have sporting facilities and were not taken care of.

One of the mothers rejected a school that is 5km away from her house in favour of one that is 15km further because she wanted her daughter to play hockey.

"Classes at the school they were sending me to are always full. I do not trust the teaching from the teachers there. I know one of the kids going to the school. By noon the child is back at home. There are no extramural activities," she complained.

Sowetan visited all the schools, including the ones that were shunned by the parents, and found most of their complaints to be true.

They did not have sporting facilities and they were unkept with overgrown grass all around them, while the ones they preferred had well-maintained several sport fields.

However, there was no way of proving the "inferior education" apparently being offered as all government schools adhere to the same syllabus.

But parents have a point, why must they send their kids to schools with less facilities? Why are township schools still not well equipped 25 years into democracy?

This was the state of education in black areas under the apartheid regime, yes, a lot has changed since then, but we are rather moving at a snail's pace in ensuring that public schools are the same all over the country.

Schooling is not only about the academic programme, but the institutions have to offer more to fully develop the child's potential. Why is this not a priority for the department of basic education?

We call on the Mpumalanga department of education to investigate the claims that pupils in that area spend less time in class.

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