South African minister visits schools accused of racism

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Joyce Mashamba, Education minister in South Africa's Limpopo province Wednesday led a series of high-level inspections of provincial schools accused of racial discrimination in their criteria for admission.
Provincial Education Spokesperson Freddy Greaver said Mashamba and other senior department officials visited Piet Potgieter Primary in Mokopane and Frans du Toit High School in Phalaborwa after black parents complained that their children were being denied access.
The parents were allegedly told their children were either not eligible for admission, or that the schools were already full.
"Aggrieved parents believe they are being lied to, and that the motive is something very different, something closer to unfair discrimination," said Greaver, adding "we do not want to jump into conclusions yet, but will have no choice except to act harshly if we do find any form of racial or other discrimination.
" He said the provincial department would not hesitate to take over complete management of any schools found to be racist.
Teams of officials and other education stakeholders also toured Limpopo's most under-resourced and worst performing schools to inspect records, timetables, teacher attendance records, textbook inventories and financial records.
"We will try to understand just why they performed so dismally, when the rest of the province managed to achieve an average 10 percent improvement in the matrix exam pass rate," Greaver said.
"We will also be meeting with parents, pupils and other stakeholders to get a sense of their thinking on the issue," he added.
The teams will draft a report on each visit as the basis for future interventions in the problem schools.

15 january 2003 13:00:00




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