Cape Town - Proposals to review the “flawed quintile system for schools” and an increase in no-fee schools in the Western Cape have received rare cross-party support in the legislature; with education MEC David Maynier saying he would be happy to hear proposals from all sides.
The issue of the quintile system arose following a question from ACDP MPL Ferlon Christians to Maynier about whether there were plans to increase the number of non-fee-paying schools in the next financial year.
Christians said money should never be the reason for children not to attend school, and that schools had been wrongly categorised.
“They are (located) in poor areas but are classed quintile four and five, and I want to know if this will be addressed in the event that schools are reallocated from fee-paying to no-fee schools?”
Maynier said he agreed with Christians that it was an unfortunate reality that the quintile system divides schools according to poverty levels of the areas in which the schools are located.
He said this was not necessarily an accurate reflection of thel earners in the school, particularly where they travelled long distances to attend school or where there were new housing settlements.
“I also agree that money must never be the issue stopping children from going to school, and its precisely for that reason that the WCED now plans to offer 161 of the fee-charging schools in quintiles four and five the opportunity to become no-fee schools from January 1, 2023.”
Maynier said he hoped this would relieve the burden on households across the province. He said schools were entitled to appeal their fee status at any time, but that such appeals would be subject to a separate process.
Provincial ANC education spokesperson Khalid Sayed said he welcomed the department’s initiative on the no-fee schools.
“We are willing to say that given the policy issue around the quintile system’s skewness is coming from the national level, let us collectively as a province, even as the official opposition, work with the MEC to ensure that we can reform the system. It is very important,” he said.