Parents try to force Gauteng high school to admit their children

About 30 parents from a neighbouring suburb insist their children be allowed to attend Florida Park High

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Fikile Qaba was one of about 30 parents who live in neighbouring Fleurhof, trying to get their children into Florida Park High at the start of the school year. She said though she had applied at Florida Park, the education department had placed her son, Sibusiso, at a school in Diepsloot, 40km away. Photo: Silver Sibiya

  • A group of about 30 Gauteng parents are insisting their children should be able to attend the high school nearest to where they live.
  • Although the education department has provided places at other schools, the parents say they are too far away and expensive to get to, or use Afrikaans which is not familiar to their children.
  • One child from Fleurhof in south-west Johannesburg, was placed at a school in Diepsloot, 40km away.

About 30 parents gathered outside Florida Park High in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning to demand that the school accept their children for the 2024 academic year.

Later in the day, some of the parents went to the Gauteng education department’s district west offices.

While most of the parents’ children had places in schools for the academic year, they had been placed at schools as far as 40km away, despite having applied to Florida Park High. Parents said they couldn’t afford transport to far-away schools.

Their children had to watch their peers who had been given a place at the school walk to their classrooms as the school bell rang.

Fikile Qaba said the education department placed her son, who is entering Grade 8, at a school in Diepsloot, 40km away from Fleurhof where she lives. Fleurhof is adjacent to Florida.

“Where will I get money for transport to Diepsloot? I don’t even know where it is,” said Qaba. She said the education department had offered a place at two other schools closer to where she lived, but they were Afrikaans-medium schools.

She said Florida Park High was English-medium and close to where they live, and she had done the necessary application at the school last year.

She said she went to the district education offices on Monday but “they were rude” and simply told her there’s no space at Florida Park High.

Mittah Bantom said last year her son was placed at Hoërskool Die Burger in Randburg, which was Afrikaans-medium and too far from where they live. When she declined, he was placed at Robin Hood Academy, which is even further away, in Honeydew.

Due to the struggle to pay for transport, she is insisting her son be allowed to attend the nearest school, which is Florida Park High.

Nompendulo Sibindi said though she had applied to Florida Park in time, her Grade 8 child was placed in a school in Bosmont, which was too far away. Sibindi said she had already bought a uniform for Florida Park High.

Gauteng Department of Education Spokesperson Steve Mabona confirmed Qaba had applied on time last year but said her application documents were incomplete in that she had failed to provide proof of address. He also said Qaba had applied to other schools in Johannesburg North. But listing other schools on the application form is mandatory.

Mabona said the department was aware parents from Fleurhof had visited the Johannesburg West District office on Wednesday, and they had been offered placements at Robin Hood Academy, but were refusing the offer.

“Unfortunately, Florida High is full,” he said.

Parents returned on Thursday to try to force authorities to accept their children at Florida Park High.

TOPICS:  Education

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