Girls’ school gets into HRC’s bad books
THE HUMAN Rights Commission (HRC) has ordered a private school in Sandton to stop discriminating against girls by not giving them the same honours to put on their blazers as boys.
This comes after the father of a former pupil at St Stithians Girls’ College argued that the school denied her the opportunity to receive outward recognition for her accomplishments.
The father, who does not want to be named, said St Stithians Boys’ College pupils are awarded braids, badges and colours or honours blazers while St Stithians Girls’ College only receive “a handshake in assemblies and prize-giving evenings where they are awarded certificates”. This amounts to gender discrimination, he said. He said that his daughter, who was now studying actuarial science at university, attained 10 As in matric last year, and was the school’s best overall achiever, but “the opportunity to receive outward recognition for her achievements was withheld from her”.
The HRC has given the school three months to revise its policy on the practice of awarding different forms of outward recognition for achievement to boys from that of girls.
But school spokeswoman Megan van der Poll said the school would appeal.
“The current position is that we’re appealing the finding and the matter is sub judice.”
St Stithians argues that when its Girls’ College opened in the 1990s, it had a mandate to establish a school based on the most “current trends and research on best practice for girls”.
“The Boys’ College was already well established and had 55 years of tradition of conventional recognition: braids, badges, colours and honours blazers.” Although both schools share the same campus, church values and facilities, the Girls’ College didn’t have to be a “carbon copy” of the Boys’ College, but had to do things differently, it stated.