Schools and parents in KwaZulu-Natal’s, Chatsworth area are calling for the Department of Education to amend the quintile ranking system which was introduced to provide quality education for learners in 1998.
The quintile ranking system (PDF) for 2016/2017 determines how much the government fund schools per learner. Schools that are ranked in quintiles one to three are schools that receive more funding and are identified as the most poorest by the government.
Last year the government contributed R 1 177 for each learner, these are schools where learners don’t pay school fees.
At quintile four, schools are identified as the least poorest, the allocation amount paid by government per learner was R590 and the school charges fees.
At quintile five, schools receive the lowest allocation per learner from the government, the government contributed R204 per learner and the school charges fees.
Principal Paul Naidoo of Summerfield primary school in Chatsworth area, has joined in to ask the government to amend the quintile ranking system. The quintile ranking system has ranked Summerfield primary school a five because of its good infrastructure, running water and electricity. This is a problem because the school is located in a low-income area with 80 percent of pupils living in informal settlements or municipal housing.
This coupled with the schools quintile ranking have led to ever-increasing debts at the school. The principal says that it needs R450 000 annually to run the school and Naidoo believes that the quintile ranking should be at least rank three. This year the school only received R86 000 from government and collected R40 000 from school fees.
‘We have financial shortfalls every year, that’s the reason we were nearly R300 000 in arrears with our municipal lights and water bill. Those services were almost disconnected. Mayor Zandile Gumede intervened and we were given a grace period, but we still have to settle it,” said Naidoo to IOL News.
Kwazi Mthethwa, spokesperson for KZN Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane also expressed his views on the quintile ranking system, the department is concerned about how the ranking system affected schools. The location and infrastructure of schools should not be the only determining factors to rank schools.
“It seems like some schools were targeted, but this ranking problem exists in all parts of KZN. We need to consult further with all the stakeholders in our national department to ensure that our schools receive funding they deserve,” Mthethwa concluded.