School years should be carefree

Lisette Genseberger, Plumstead

Dear principals and parents of Grade 7 boys, it is that time of the year when parents and children anxiously await the news of whether their children will be accepted into the school of their choice. The interviews are over and the waiting game has begun.

It is all parents talk about at the sidelines while watching their children play rugby or cricket. The hype around the school choice has over the years gone way overboard.

My late father, a graduate of the engineering faculty at Stellenbosch University, always used to reply when friends or colleagues asked him which school(s) he had attended, “Of what concern is that, what did you achieve afterwards?”

He attended a very ordinary school in the Free State and had to borrow money from a farmer to attend university. He graduated with a degree in both mechanical and electrical engineering. That is who he was.

I have observed as an aunt of Grade 7 boys how this has affected them. There are boys in their class who have already been informed that they have been accepted atan excellent boys’ school in the southern suburbs.

Their Grade 7 year should be happy, stress-free and a period where they look forward to their high school years, not a period where their parents are asked why didn’t they apply to other schools as well and “surely you cannot think about applying to another school in your area which maybe does not have the same allure as Wynberg, Rondebosch and SACS”, or “have you checked this other schools’ bachelor pass rates from last year?”

My big question is, why can’t schools not inform all applicants at the same time? Surely this would be more fair.