About 300 pupils at an unregistered independent school in Port Elizabeth will have to enrol elsewhere after the Grahamstown High Court rejected its application for leave to appeal against its closure.
The provincial Department of Education successfully brought the urgent high court interdict last month to immediately stop Edu planet from operating as a vital first step in its battle against unregistered schools.
It said these unregistered and unmonitored schools, where the standards might not be up to scratch, put the future of pupils attending them at risk.
Edu planet had requested the high court to suspend the interdict for 12 months to give it an opportunity to complete the registration process.
In appealing against the ruling, the school said Judge Clive Plasket had erred by not taking into consideration the best interests of the pupils.
Plasket had ruled that he could not suspend the action against ongoing criminal conduct.
The SA Schools Act requires all schools to be registered with the state.
It is a criminal offence to establish an unregistered independent school and to admit pupils.
Edu planet had operated since July in a completely unregulated way and the industrial area in which it was situated was not zoned for educational purposes.
In rejecting Edu planet’s application for leave to appeal, Plasket said it was not apparent that it was in the best interests of the pupils to allow Edu planet to continue operating.
“The legislation concerning the registration of independent schools is in place so that proper standards can be maintained,” he said.
“Its purpose is also to ensure that pupils at independent schools are educated by properly qualified teachers in a safe and healthy physical environment.
“None of this can be guaranteed in the unregulated circumstances contended for by Edu planet.”