Curro private school assigns kids to classes based on race. WTF?!

race

It would seem that as far as education is concerned 2015 is not off to a good start. First we had the MEC for education in KZN explaining that her “visions of an ideal education system” include 18th century pseudo-science, namely streaming 6 year old children based on the size and shape of their skulls (phrenology) and the style of their handwriting (graphology). She has subsequently apologized to “everyone who felt offended” but did not retract the statement. Now this week Eyewitness News reports that a private school in Pretoria – Curro Roodeplaat – is assigning children to classes based on race?! They report that a group of 30 parents have signed a petition demanding an explanation from the school and the company. The explanation given by the company (Curro is one of the few for-profit private school chains in the country) was equally dumb-founding.  Curro Holdings’ regional manager Andre Pollard explained their rationale as follows:

“It’s not because we would like to segregate the whites, it’s just because of friends. Children are able to make friends with children of their culture.”

This sounds like a social/friendship-based version of ‘separate development.’ Fifty-two years ago the Bantu Education Act was made into law, segregating children based on the colour of their skin. Still today we are dealing with the aftermath of that one piece of legislation. By conflating education and subjugation it transformed our schools from sites of learning to sites of activism and resistance. It destroyed the culture of teaching and learning and created a lingering fear of education as an instrument of political subjugation.

With a history such as ours how can a school possibly argue that separating children based on race or ‘culture’ is necessary?! The sheer nerve that their regional manager can justify this racial segregation saying that children find it easier to make friends with children of their own culture is astounding and shameful. This is not the first time I have heard about racial discrimination in Pretoria’s Curro schools, but it is the first time I have seen it reported in the media. Currently there are 43 Curro schools across the country raising revenue of over R400 million in 2014. The company recently invested R1,5 billion in expanding their facilities with an aim of reaching 80 schools by 2020.  Only 4% of South African students attend Independent (i.e. non-public) schools but the vast majority of those are not-for-profit schools with about 0,4% attending for-profit schools like Curro.

While we might be tempted to brush this off as an isolated instance at a single Curro school, we need to ask why this behaviour is seen as acceptable by their regional manager? Curro needs to unequivocally condemn these practices and ensure that they are not practiced at any of their other schools. Looking at the speeches and policies at the time of our transition one can clearly see that education was (and is) seen as one of the most promising channels of integration, nation-building and transformation. The actions of this school show utter contempt for the democratic project in South Africa. There are many amazing Independent schools in this country who offer high quality education in a socially inclusive and culturally sensitive way. It would seem that Curro Roodeplaat is not one of them.

53 responses to “Curro private school assigns kids to classes based on race. WTF?!

  1. Hi most concerning is the fact that certain e news platforms are sensoring this article. I read it on news24 this am as soon as it was published, made a comment and a few minutes later when I wanted to review the updates it was removed. From the comment thread, you could see that this was a heated topic with very valid points albeit some idiotic where individuals could see nothing wrong with this action of blatant segregation.

  2. The problem that needs to be addressed in South Africa is one of closet racism, which is still alive and kicking. When will people move with the times?

  3. An educator at this school made a bad decision based on very faulty thinking. My children attend a Curro school and I have never experienced any of this. They have always had friends of all races. Always. This is an isolated incident and it should not be used to judge all the Curro schools as having the same policies.

  4. The government should act by hitting them where it hurts most; the pocketbook. This behaviour by an organization and such “ignorant ” explanations should be dealt with and an example should be made. Take half of their 400 mil profit.

  5. I fail to understand why such bullshit still occurs. Racism is rampant in South Africa because we allow it to dwell amongst us. There is absolutely no reasonable explanation for racial segregation in schools because this battle was fought and won. Nonsense.

    • Racial segregation against the state was won, but private individuals have the right to segregate them selves if they choose, it’s called freedom of association – “Freedom of association is the right to join or leave groups of a person’s own choosing, and for the group to take collective action to pursue the interests of members.”

  6. Whites can’t help themselves, racism is in their dna. They cannot function unless they have people placed neatly in their ‘ race boxes’. This school should be taken to the equality court. Afriforum will take people to the equality court for hate speech, why are they so silent on this issue, or do they condone the racism now…

    • I agree that separation is not the way to go. It was a unwise decision and statement. I’ve been to their schools and this is a isolated instance. But if we were to dismiss all of ‘white’ people Base on a few it would be like saying based that 90% of house crimes are committed by ‘black’ people that all black ppl are criminals.

      This logic is insane and by even arguing this way proves your bias and not objective.

      Your statement regarding DNA would suggest that you sir also have racism in your DNA. @Edwin avontuur

    • Their reasons are really a lot of bullshit, with that they are actually a admitting that they are racists.

    • And u saying that is not racist? Wow the pot calling the kettle black…. Nice

    • Thanks for judging all whites there. Now you just realised you’re racist too….

    • Edwin, it really makes me sad to read what you have written here about “Whites can’t help themselves.” You are the one that is putting people in a “race box”. You are asking if Afriforum are condoning racism – first try and get racism out of your life and maybe you will become a happier person. Good luck to you.

  7. You must be joking… Wtf! I’m now really sick of this black and white thing…department of education must act and close this school.. ASAP!

    • It’s a private school, the department of education should have no say here.

      • even though a private school, it’s not in a vacuum, or even on an island; it’s in the Republic of South Africa.

      • Paul Beardsell

        Well, that is not the actual legal position. The department does have a say.

      • By choosing this right to segregate yourself, you should also be given no choice or option to segregate yourself straight out of our country. This kind of behaviour is NOT acceptable in the new South Africa!

  8. never mind separate Classes it should be separate schools; are you scared you going to miss something for not joining the white class?

  9. Wellll, agree with it or not, but it is a PRIVATE school. There are public options that are fully integrated. If people want to pay ridiculous fees to live in a bubble, then let them. Each kid educated in the private system means there’s more money for each kid in the public system. So let them join a private school with some exclusive agenda, and laugh all the way to matric when your children are better prepared for the “real world” after school.

    Go and criticise from a distance if you want to, but you’re wasting your energy…. you’re not going to change those parents’ minds by integrating their children.

    Do you REALLY want your kids integrating with kids whose parents are white supremacists? If you do, then I think you’re inviting conflict. There are lots of kids of all races who do want to integrate cheerfully. Embrace each other. Ostracise those who don’t.

    Besides, each kid pulled out of public school means more funding for each kid in the public school system. (Same money divided between fewer kids).

    If you want to be part of the rainbow nation, then integrate, make the most of the experience, and help build a future with your fellow South Africans. Let those who don’t want to be part of it wallow in their own company. It’s no loss to you.

    Think back to your own school days. Remember the occasional loners who just did not want to join in with other kids in the class? Whatever the group is doing, they’re doing the opposite?? Remember how you initially tried to invite these individuals to join the group, and then eventually just left them be? On the rare occasions when you were able to force those loners to join, was your group better off, or was your own group fragmented and uncomfortable? (If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realise it’s the latter that’s true).

    Why focus on the small factions of oddities? Leave them be. You won’t change them, and forcing them to be like you isn’t going to make you happier or more unified. Remember: this is a PRIVATE school. They’re not being publicly funded.

  10. My child attends a Curro school, since Grade 1, and has always been in classes with kids from all race groups, in fact it my daughter did not even know that there are different races, she never noticed the difference. I think the comments from the Regional Manager are ridiculous, there is no need to seperate children and group them according to race, children naturally make friends and get along with anyone, in fact this behaviour from the school could be more damaging to the children. I do think that this matter should be properly investigated, and all the facts stated before we start passing judgement on anyone, as for Edwin Avontuur, your comments are equally as ridiculous, who are “They”, don’t label everyone, you are being racist and unreasonable. Move on South Africa, more than 20 years into democracy and we are still having to deal with all of this.

  11. I have noticed here in Pinetown that many parents seem to take their kids out of schools where there is a predominance of black kids – with scarce a white face to be seen. I wonder why that would be? Racism ?

  12. Mandla Maxhakana

    Racism is alive and well in the world. In SA? If you listen to some of our polititians, then you can see how they hate whites. BEE is racism, what else? What is tribalism? Is that not racism? That is allive and well in SA! The current zenophobia? That’s racism! If you go and drive through the cape flats as a white person, you won’t get out on the other side! If you have standards as a white person that is more “western” than those arround you and you want to keep it that way, you are a racist! If you critisize the effect of BEE in Eskom, Telkom, the post office, SAA and other parastatals and government departments, then you are a racist! If you complain about the state of our economy and you put the blame on our ANC government, then you are a racist! Unfortunately, if you are white and you want to keep your standards, you are a racist! I aggree that the above incedent is wrong and should be acted apon, but so must the lack of performance in the Government schools, or is our matrick results acceptable? Why is the “black” schools so under performing after 20 years of democracy? Why do all well to do people of all collours in SA want to put their kids in private or previous model C schools? Why were the wheel not invented in SA when the “setlers” arrived in SA? Why? Why? Why??

  13. @edwin avontuur
    “Whites can’t help themselves, racism is in their dna.”
    What you are saying is also racist, so you’re part of the problem. If you really don’t like racism, then don’t make race based arguments yourself. Would you not be offended if a white person said “Blacks can’t help themselves, being [insert stereotype here] is in their DNA”? For racism to truly stop, it needs to stop on all sides. Be the better person and don’t fight racism with more racism. Sure, there are still a lot of racist white people, it’s unfortunately true, but there are also a lot of white people that aren’t. That goes for all colours of skin in this country, cause NEWS FLASH: you don’t have to be white to be a racist. Heck, even the president is racist. Case in point: when he tells black africans what they should or shouldn’t do cause certain things are what white people only should be doing, such as walking their dogs or certain hair styles. Rather judge people individually by their own actions and words, not by their association, skin colour or appearance, and let people be their own person not what society or government says they should be.

    Anyway, I hope that the people responsible for this RIDICULOUS idea are punished, but I also hope it doesn’t affect the learners. Truly unacceptable this far along into our democracy. Andre Pollard needs to be fired and the schools need be restructured.

  14. @edwin avontuur
    “Whites can’t help themselves, racism is in their dna.”
    What you are saying is also racist, so you’re part of the problem. If you really don’t like racism, then don’t make race based arguments yourself. Would you not be offended if a white person said “Blacks can’t help themselves, being [insert stereotype here] is in their DNA”? For racism to truly stop, it needs to stop on all sides. Be the better person and don’t fight racism with more racism. Sure, there are still a lot of racist white people, it’s unfortunately true, but there are also a lot of white people that aren’t. That goes for all colours of skin in this country, cause NEWS FLASH: you don’t have to be white to be a racist. Heck, even the president is racist. Case in point: when he tells black africans what they should or shouldn’t do cause certain things are what white people only should be doing, such as walking their dogs or certain hair styles. Rather judge people individually by their own actions and words, not by their association, skin colour or appearance, and let people be their own person not what society or government says they should be.

    Anyway, I hope that the people responsible for this RIDICULOUS idea are punished, but I also hope it doesn’t affect the learners. Truly unacceptable this far along into our democracy. Andre Pollard needs to be fired and the schools need be restructured.

  15. The parents should rather remove their children from this school why continue to make them rich, but on the flip side that will be making things easier for them and giving them an all white school.

    This is disgusting to say the least, you should be mixing the races so that they learn about other cultures as well as to interact with everyone. Are we still giving lessons on how not to be racists in 2015. I’m not surprised that this incident happened in Pretoria, I work here but live in Johannesburg purely because I don’t my child to be exposed to the deep seeded racism that still exists in this place. There is still that old regime festering here and they seem to be filtering it to the younger generation. At this rate there is no hope for change and sadly my black brothers and sisters still take it.

  16. My daughter attends school at curro Thatchfield and its her first year this year. At the first parents meeting I raised the issue of race segregation as Thatchfield has also divided black kids into separate classes and whites the same.
    The school head Mrs Gerber said she has no idea that was the case, she will investigate and revert back to us. The meeting was on 17 January 2015 and up to now she never responded. I engaged the grade head about the matter and she gave me some excuse about white kids that did not do well in grade 1 hence they were put in their own class because they need special attention.

  17. this is not true in Curro mt Richmore( KZN), I own a private tutoring service, and have african clients with children attending this school in multiracial classes…

  18. I how many teachers and and Principals does Curro have that are from various races?

  19. stupid lame excuse. Africa never had white people. they cam to Africa so u lot need to watch what you do to us. God is alive and watchin u. he will surely deal with u all.
    http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/School-segregation-report-shows-persistence-of-racism-20150130

    • sars, we are talking about South Africa. There were no blacks in South Africa originally, they came down from the north. Isn’t it about time we all lived together and accept each other for what we are as people and not for the colour of our skin. God is alive and He is watching all of us.

  20. Kids do not see color. We were not born with the perception that “I am coloured so I can’t get along with a white or black person”… This man shouldn’t be the head of an institution if he is permitting teaching kids this nonsense.

  21. Isolated issue for sure not. I removed my Children from Curro Durbanville and I can assure you I had many fights with them that is well documented. These school has very strong racist tendencies and in addition to that preferential treatment to educators kids. English educators that can’t speak proper English and useless Math teachers. I am very happy this came to light this institution must be exposed for what they are.

  22. Our kids attend a Curro school and we have never experienced any racist actions or decision making on any level. Must be an isolated incident. Pity everyone always focuses on the negative….

  23. I was brought up at a private school in the 80s. My best friends throughout school were 2 black girls and 2 Indian girls and a black guy. How dare these poncy schools bring racism back. It was horrible when I wanted to take my friend to movies once and she said she couldn’t. I was 8 and I didn’t get it.

  24. BEE is fine but this is not? Haha! Double standards if you ask me… BEE is more racist than this if you ask me, asigning a job because of race is also racist… so whats the big problem here??????

  25. So, why is nobody commenting about the RSA National University admissions criteria, based on race!? It is well known, enforced, operative, factual and publically communicated: i.e. Students of colour (conveniently called ‘previously disadvantaged’), with MUCH lower school grades are admitted while students with straight-A grades are turned away, ‘because they are white’… What should we call this? I suppose RACISM?

  26. Since Curro is listed on the JSE, if you really hate what they’ve done, you can sell PSG or Curro shares. PSG owns > 30% of Curro. This will get their attention more than any complaints on social media.

  27. Just some oespective here. Were these children coming from a play school that they were friends in? Its quite ubderstandable that certain children would want to be in a class with their friends. As far as race is concerned, my son is in a very good school, but I noticed that the coloured children in the school tend to hang out together. Are they racist towards white children or do they have the right to hang out together if they want? I think this situation is very similar, just the shoe is on the other foot. The press woukd love to create a mountain out of a molehill. It’s not to say that there are any wrong motives here. Just a thought.

  28. always the story from both sides

    Paul Beardsell, it is because of the government interference that the education system fails the children and the teachers, keep politics to the people that does nothing and education to the teachers molding the future generation. it also has nothing to do with race, if a school quota is reach by any ethnic group the balance needs to be reviewed. the ratio of competence amongst children needs to be viewed and place in the respective groups.

  29. I don’t see why black parents want to follow whites everywhere they go, the notion that if a white person does it or there are whites, its good and if a black person does it its bad is sick. Blacks are have a serious inferior complex that no white person can ever fill.. I don’t see any white parent complaining about racial segregation of their kids yet it affects them too. is it because they know its not important as long as their kids are getting good education. Blacks stop racism on blacks. Your kids are not going to miss any lessons in class. its not about integration its about blacks wanting whites around everywhere they are coz it validates them that they are better than other blacks, they have whites around BS.
    If the gvnt wants to stop racism, then then must change their policies, BBBEE, etc.
    P.S I’m black

  30. The greatest man to walk this earth was born in this country which was Nelson Mandela. We should see each other as humans and not by race. Why do we waste the little time we have on earth by doing bad and not good? if the school decides to keep the regional manager then everyone should get the message about the schools values and principles that they abide by.

  31. Our Limpopo schools are almost all having separate classes based on language. We don’t say black or white here we say English and Afrikaans.

  32. Hendrik S Visser

    Why not start to complain about home schooling?. Parents teaching their own children ? Why do the unhappy parents put their children in a private school in the first place? This whole race thing is getting bizarre .If your child is getting the education that is needed, why the hell do you worry whether he is in a WHITE class or a BLACK class? If you educate him or her to respect other people, he himself will mix and socialise with them.

  33. Did they create a WHITES ONLY class for these four white kids out of a total of sixty children in that grade. Is this really an issue to go and shout AMANDLA or INKANDLA for? You need to consult your laughter doctor.

  34. Proud Curro Mom

    Everyone needs to keep in mind that before children start grade 1 they are in pre-primary class. This is where teachers observe them and learn their strengths and weaknesses and who hangs out with who.
    Based on the above this is how the classes are divided.
    The reason the principal gave is perfectly valid and he is not racist.
    My child attended Curro Private School in Durbanville and mixed with children of all race groups. Academically my child did very well because the teachers took an interest in all their students. They were friendly, patient and dedicated to their duties. My child was very happy. Today my child has a Masters in engineering.
    What matters at the end of the day is that the children are taught properly and that the teachers are dedicated.

  35. Hannelie de Bruin

    FYI: I wanted to enter by child by Curro in Hazeldean in 2010 to go to Gr R in 2011. I know I was one of the 1st to hand in my forms, so I was very surprised when I was told later that year that my child will not be accepted at that point in time. After enquiring on the reason I was told by a dr Dey that he will not “fit” in as on his report card the teacher indicated he should be assessed by an Occupational Therapist. I was welcome to reaply after I take him for his assessment. What rubbish, he was 4 at the time. It made me felt as if we were not good enough and substandard. My child was taken and he had a few issues that were sorted. He is now in a model C school and is doing very well. So I was wondering if they also have a quota of the mix of students they admit to aftificially inflate the pass rate.

  36. I am in Curro and I am sorry but all this is NONSENCE. it is not a racial school I have many friends of different skin types in my class and I am very happy. you are making a brilliant school seem bad when actually you must feel bad. You are wasting your time. DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ!! I stand behind my school. YOU should be ashamed of yourself! Curro grows young brains but when kids struggle it helps to get professional help, sorry if you felt that they are being rude. Quota is not a situation because all races can and are welcome to join curro and don’t pick them because of their race. If you can afford the school you can be in it! And if not they will help you with your finansial problems. I have 3 children in my class that can’t even afford a bread but yet they go to Curro. WHO do you think is paying??? Think of everything before you jump the gun!

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