South Africa in reality harbours two separate education systems in its public school domain: one consisting of the former white schools, which is adequately resourced, and the other constituting the township and rural schools entrenched in abject poverty. The current school funding system perpetuates this state of inequality.

On the one hand, former white schools are sustaining their position of privilege by levying high school fees which enable them to operate on budgets far exceeding those of poor schools. On the other hand, former black schools are struggling to keep afloat despite government’s laudable but ineffective policy to provide free education in disadvantaged schools. This has resulted in unfair discrimination against marginilised learners who are denied access to the same type and standard of education as received by their more privileged counterparts. Because of past patterns of racial privilege, unfair discrimination takes place on the basis of race. However, an increasing number of black learners are attending former white schools. The economic status of parents has thus become a determining factor in which school a learner attends. Discrimination therefore also occurs on the basis of socio-economic status.

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