Burning tyres in front of the Northern Cape Department of Education's district office in Kimberley evoked horrific images of a bygone era in South Africa's educational history. This time, however, it is not about "Liberation before Education", but about mismanagement decades after liberation was achieved.
Parents complained that the electronic application process is not functioning properly and that children who did apply in time were not placed at schools. Informal talks with parents revealed that there are indeed enough places in schools, but that parents prefer not to have their children attend certain schools. This is because the standard of education is not the same in all schools.
The only official distinction between schools in South Africa is between public and independent schools.
But in practice, there is an even greater distinction between schools that charge school fees and schools where parents do not have to pay. The latter are supposed to receive greater subsidies from the government so as to ensure that top quality education is provided to all South African children. The question, however, is whether this really is the case.
The FF Plus wants to make use of this opportunity to once again express that the government must not shirk its responsibility to provide quality education. Public schools are a partnership between parents, the government and educators. Every child has the right to quality education and the government must do its part to ensure that they have access to it.
If a school's staff members belong to a union that prizes strikes above teaching, if the government does not manage its resources well and if parents do not ensure that their children attend school diligently, the only outcome one can expect is a failing educational system.
This problem is not unique to the Northern Cape, thus, the FF Plus will take up the matter on national and provincial level.