School zone controversy

I fail to understand why there is so much controversy over the school zoning policy.

The policy has very clear guidelines on the enrolment of students into Year 9 from within and out of the school zone.

Moreover, each school had to develop an enrolment scheme based on the out of zone students enrolment and for the scheme to be implemented approval had to be sought from the Ministry of Education.

Hopefully all schools adhered to the requirements, as such, there should not be any controversy.

The controversy is not with compliance of the school zoning policy it is more with principals exceeding the minimum student numbers. For instance ED 1D grade school must have 941 students.

The other factor is the cut off marks and selection of elite athletes and students with exceptional skills in rugby, soccer and netball.

The out of zone students enrolment as per the school zoning policy is very clear: students accepted for enrolment in special programs, students who are members of the school’s faith, children of the school’s teachers, children whose parents work within the school zone, siblings/children of current/former students, children of board employees and all other students at the discretion of the principal.

According to the above criteria all parents will be able to enrol their children in a school of their choice.

As such, I believe there is no need for a school zoning policy.

It must be withdrawn immediately and it would augur well for the Ministry of Education to focus into the reconstruction of schools devastated by STCW.

I believe the schools that had their grants reduced for breaching the policy must have their grants returned as breach extends to withdrawal of bus fare assistance only.

The Ministry of Education must strengthen the district/divisional education offices by:

* providing greater resources to scrutinise the enrolment schemes;

* provide advice on the formulation of enrolment schemes;

* approve those that are aligned to the school zoning policy; and

* the special characteristics of the school and strictly check on student numbers to comply with school grades.

I believe parents will no longer be disgruntled, Ministry of Education will have one less controversy to deal with and the issue of access, equity and quality in all schools will be swiftly addressed.

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