George Mari, MPP
Member of the Democratic Alliance in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature
THE Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal welcomes the long overdue announcement that the discriminatory quintile ranking system – applied to schools throughout the country – will be abolished in 2014.
The DA has long fought for this unjust classification of schools to be done away with. As far back as 2008, we called on the then KZN MEC for Education, Ina Cronje, to ensure that schools, especially ex-HOD schools, were ranked correctly.
The quintile system has prejudiced numerous KwaZulu-Natal schools. Many of these are in traditional Indian areas, yet are made up of more than 40% of learners who come from surrounding townships and informal settlements. In many instances these learners and their families simply can’t afford to pay school fees.
For principals and educators, an incorrect quintile ranking has meant limited teaching resources, lack of basic infrastructure maintenance, inability to pay for basic services, failure to afford school security and the end of being a part of the province’s nutrition programme. For learners it has meant a compromised education – having to share books – and going hungry.
In doing away with the quintile system, education officials have finally admitted that this scheme has been a massive failure. What we now need is a new plan – one which does not discriminate against any school or learner in need.