Carol Paton Writer at Large

The biggest reforms to public schools since 1994 quietly came into existence in the past month. The Western Cape and Gauteng have made legislative changes that their provincial MECs hope will significantly change the access of poor children to quality education. In the Western Cape, changes to the governance model of schools will bring private money into poor schools. In Gauteng, changes to admission policy will bring more poor children into wealthy schools. The approaches are opposite methods to achieve the same objective: how to narrow the gap between rich and poor schools and provide quality education to poor children whose birthplace would otherwise lock them into inferior education and poor life opportunities. Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi says: “Nobody must be denied access to quality education because they are born in the wrong area.” Lesufi has had some bruising fights against schools and parents in the courts and lost. In July he lost a bid to force Hoërskool Ove...

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