More Oppression of Free Education: New BELA Bill Published

On the 13th of October 2017 the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill was published in the Government Gazette for comment by all interested parties.

Should this bill be approved, it will herald important changes in home schooling law, signalling an attempt at even more control of the home schooling community by the state.

The Pestalozzi Trust has been preparing for this bill for some time, and is ready to comment and oppose it as another draconian attempt to nip all excellent, individualised home education in the bud. The next few months will decide the future of home education in South Africa, and all homeschoolers need to support the fight and contribute by way of submission.

Although cottage schools are excluded from changes to home schooling law, the proposed changes to Section 3 (dealing with Compulsory School Attendance) make it a much more serious offence for the parents and educators of a child who does not attend school. It is proposed that the period of imprisonment changes from 6 months to 6 years. (A child attending an unregistered independent school is not exempted from school attendance.)

(A) Read the draft bill, to inform yourself and to prepare yourself for a submission on the draft bill. It is to be found at https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/41178_gon1101.pdf. The document is organised in a memorandum section (comments on the proposed changes) and the actual bill, which starts on page 17 of 36.

The sections of special relevance to homeschoolers are section 2 (Page 20 of 36: amendment of old section 3, dealing with Compulsory School Attendance) and section 25 (page 29 of 36: amendment of old section 51, dealing with Registration of Learners for Home Education).

The section of special relevance to cottage schools and learning centres is section 2 (page 20 of 36: amendment of old section 3, dealing with Compulsory School Attendance). Note that no provision is made in the law for cottage schools or learning centres: only for registered independent schools. If you run an unregistered independent school, you might be prosecuted as “a person who, without just cause, prevents a learner who is subject to compulsory attendance from attending a school…”. You will be doing that if you, without just cause, run a cottage school or learning centre, in other words, if you keep learners at your institution who are liable for compulsory school attendance.

(B) All home educators, parents, institutions and organisations should comment and make a submission. Comments should reach the Department by 10 November 2017. The Pestalozzi Trust will supply guidelines for comments in the course of the next week. You are welcome to send us any contributions or suggestions.

This is a fight that we have not sought, but have long been preparing for. We welcome the opportunity to contribute to and shape the future of homeschooling for generations to come. This is a battle for the right to education, in its true sense. We are fully ready to go to the front and with the help of God we will win.

8 thoughts on “More Oppression of Free Education: New BELA Bill Published

  1. I am in total disagreement with what is happening.my children where at a private school and learnt nothing,my small son was in grade 2 but could only read parrot style but if you asked him to read randomly he could not idetify words,after joining a homeschooling he has excellent results and he can read,write and spell. Parents should have the freedom to decide whats best for their children. Education is fundamental element in life and our state or private schools dont have the capability to produce a good standard of education. Homeschooling has made both my children confident to face anything in the world.

  2. As such a diverse population , it is becoming to enforce laws in this country to prevent freedom of choice with regards to education
    Parents and teachers alike cannot be constrained by the government to enforce a syllabus and prevent learners from attending private institutions and home schooling
    This is not in keeping with a free South Africa!

  3. No. They can’t do this. My so is finally happy and learning in the ONLY place that was able to accommodate and help him. I went to every single school both nomal and special needs schools in Johannesburg south and not one of them could help him. Not one could teach him. And when I approached the department of education they told me that I must look outside of Johannesburg south, when I told them I can’t do that due to costs involved that I cannot afford I was told it’s not their problem I finally find a cottage school that accomates him and helps him and now they want to take that away???? At which point are they going to ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT EDUCATION???? I don’t want my son to have a GDE. It’s downright worthless and the pass mark is pathetic. Can they rather focus on improving their schooling system so that maybe we wouldn’t have to homeschooling because fact is THEIR education standard is extremely poor.

  4. I have had my children in a private school for 3 years. The ratio of children to teacher is so high that most learning and behavioral difficulties go unnoticed in the class room.
    Added to that, if the issues are to be addressed, with the time spent at school and homework and extra curricular, the time available to do extra therapies or tutoring is simply not available and the cost of the extra therapies and tutoring on top of school fees is simply not accessible for most families.
    This is why I am choosing to home school my children. So that I can be aware of where they are struggling and if I am unable to assist appropriately, I can invest the help of therapists or necessary tutors.
    If the system wasn’t failing me, I would much rather have my free time, but as a parent, I have to try and do what is best for my children.

  5. Do they really want to have to find seats in the school for all the homeschoolers when the minister of education is telling us that they will put children in libraries and laboratories, just to get their bums on seats. going to school is not just to have somewhere to sit. the idea of going to school is that you are supposed to have a well qualified teacher, who cares for and loves all of her/his students equally. Who is not too overburdened to be able to assist each child with the work at hand. This is not happening and it will only get worse. The government should embrace homeschooling as it removes a huge pressure from our already over burdened schools.

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