Parents who fake addresses could face jail time

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Parents who lie about their address to get their children into good schools could be arrested.

Can you imagine selling your address to parents who want to get into the right schools? We're not talking about the sale of a home here, we are discussing those who (for a fee) allow parents to use the 'right' address in order to get their children into the 'right' school.

Education is a controversial topic in this country and finding a 'good' school may not be as simple as it should be. In an ideal society all schools would offer academic tuition at a satisfactory level and as such resorting to antics such as faking an address in order to give your child a better educational opportunity wouldn't exist. However, the problem has become so commonplace that the Basic Educational Department has proposed that parents face jail time if they lie about and provide fraudulent documentation regarding where they live in order to get their children into what they perceive to be the 'right' school.

Sadly, in this country there are excellent schools, there are good schools, there are mediocre schools and then there are bad schools. Parents who want to give their child every chance in life are obviously going to do everything in their power to ensure that their child ends up receiving a solid education at a good institution. And therein lies the rub. Most public schools have strict admission rules and although they may well agree to admit some children from outlying areas, their main focus in on the children who live in the school's feeder areas.

It's no secret, property that is situated close to a good school is generally priced higher and, more often than not, will sell quicker than other homes. Where there is demand there are sales and as we all know, demand in property affects the price. Part of the reason for this is due to convenience - let's face it, it's far easier on a parent if a child is able to cycle or walk to school. However, living at the right address is also going to be a major plus factor when enrolling a child into a particular school.

If it's any consolation, it's not only South African parents who bemoan the fact that you have to live in a certain area in order to be able to enrol your child into the 'right' school. In many instances, British parents are worse off than their South African counterparts and this is because a child can be excluded from attending a particular school simply because they live on the wrong side of a road.

Of course parents who lie in order to get their children a place could hamper the efforts of those who actually live in a certain suburb in getting their children into a local school. Although something clearly has to be done, jail time does seem to be a bit excessive. Perhaps the first thing that should be looked into is improving the quality of schooling in schools that are being shunned by parents in an area. This may not solve the problem completely, but it could take some of the pressure off both the so-called good schools by allowing them to educate the children of those who live within the catchment areas.

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