As the 2020 school year comes to an end, parents are complaining that their children’s school reports are being withheld.
A school may not withhold a report card for any reason. The practice of withholding report cards is against the law. This includes:
Schools may not even segregate the way reports are distributed, for example, by making parents come into the school to collect and make an arrangement. Some schools force parents to sign an acknowledgement of debt in the case of outstanding fees – this is also illegal.
The regulations state the following:
a) Section 25 (12) of the National Protocol on Assessment 2011, a school may not withhold a report card for any reason.
b) 2006 – An amendment to the South African Schools Act makes it illegal for pupils to be marginalised.
c) The Act prohibits schools from denying pupils textbooks, keeping them out of school and withholding their reports.
Schools has to establish if the parent can actually afford the AGM-voted fee they are charging. “Assets, property value, vehicle value and so on is not used to formulate the percentage of reduction or exemption in fees, nor is hordes of bank stamped forms proof that you do not have more than one bank account” Sue Larken, an activist for students and parents said.
She also stated that parents and learners are protected by the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 as amended, including the regulations for exemption or reduction in fees as per the Government Gazette Notice 18 October 2016 No 29311.
Payment of school fees is not a credit agreement or application for credit and are not regulated by the National Credit Act 2005 as amended. Schools cannot request a credit clearance and ITC listing for parents who have not been assessed.
“Parents are being webbed into this devious way of collecting outstanding fees by retaining the learners report, knowing very well it is emotional blackmail and intimidation. ” Larken said. “I would like to emphasise to all parents, even though they might be exempted from paying fees, if they do have an income, however tiny, to pay a ‘voluntary’ school fee. This helps the school as they do not receive the full amount of school fees refunded from the government, but only a small portion thereof”