With the first school term starting this week, it was “problems as usual” at two Kathorus schools: problem-prone Chivirikani Primary in Siluma View and Vhumbeni Primary, in Mokoena Section. These two are the only schools catering for xhi-Tsonga-speaking learners around Kathorus and its neighbouring informal settlements, who flood both schools for admission each year.
The majority of the learners enrolling at the two schools have no legal birth registration documents such as birth-certificates, clinic and immunisation cards however, because many of them are from areas outside Gauteng while others weren’t born in South Africa and are in the country illegally.
According to the principal at Chivirikani Primary School, Mr. Chris Maluleka, the government education policy forbids the country’s public schools from refusing a learner admission if the learner doesn’t have legal documents. “Because of this policy, we are bound by law to admit learners without documents, but give their parent or guardian a period of 3-months, to bring the required documents to the school,” Maluleke explained.
But according to headmaster Maluleke, not every parent or guardian adheres to this and returns with the required documents. Many of them simply don’t even bother to come back, once the child has been admitted by the school,” he added. Maluleke explained many of these learners find themselves unable to continue their schooling once they reach Grade 7 or 8, because they can’t be registered for high school and eventually write matric due to never being registered when they started school.