Jean-Jacques Cornish

No place at schools for 60 000 South African children

At least 60 000 children have not got places at schools in two of South Africa’s most populous provinces as the country’s academic year starts this week.

Authorities are blaming parents who’ve left it to the last minute to register their children in Gauging and the Western Cape.

They insist they will eventually accommodate all the pupils. Last year it took until May to do this.

Finding desks for pupils is a perennial problem in South Africa – particularly in the urban areas.

The biggest jam is in the first year of school and and the first year of high school.

Parents are advised to register for places at least six months before the start of the new year.

Fewer than half do this.

South Africa’s schools are not only grossly  overcrowded, but they are of lamentably poor standard

In the week that results were released from South Africa’s final high school certificate called matric, the international news publication, The Economist, has declared the schools in Africa’s wealthiest country as among the most inept in the world.

The publication reported that South Africa ranked 75th out of 76, in a league table of education systems drawn up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.