This form is designed to guide you through writing a submission to the PCBE on the home education sections of the BELA Bill. If you believe that the DBE should have no role in regulating home education, and that parents by law in any case have the right and responsibility to educate their children,this is the template guide to use. If you would like other options, please click here.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THIS FORM
Words in red are for your information only. It will help you to understand what the section says and how it will affect your home education. Do not include the red sections in your submission.
Words in blue guides you to write a comment on the section. Restate the blue sentences / paragraphs in your own words in the comments blocks provided after each blue section.
Words in black will automatically be added to your submission, along with the correct headings, address, salutation, and your name, surname and contact details. If you don’t want your contact details to be published publicly with your submission by parliament, please use our Word Template
and follow the instructions at the bottom of that template.
Start Here: Background and Introduction
[OPTIONAL –Introduce yourself and your family. How big is your family? How old is/are your child/ren? Etc.] [You do not need to disclose these personal details if you do not wish to do so. However, if the reader can picture yourself and your family as real people with real lives, the impact of your letter is greater]
[Tell your story. How long have you been homeschooling? Why did you start homeschooling? Highlight any negative experience you have had with CAPS and/or schools. Highlight any positive impact home education has had on your child/ren and/or family.]
[Explain the curriculum and approach you use, why you chose it, and how it benefits your family. If you are using an approach or curriculum other than CAPS, explain why you would not want your child to follow CAPS or be assessed against CAPS. If you use CAPS for certain subjects or at a different pace explain that.]
The nature and character of home education is different from school education and cannot be properly regulated under the same law as school education
[Name at least three differences between school education and home education (more if you have the time). Think about things such as: doing different grades indifferent subjects, learning in an integrated way so that facts are not learnt out of context, being able to follow your and yourchildren’s religious / philosophical approach, always knowing exactly what your children knows and therefore no need for formal testing, etc. Think of things in your specific curriculum, methodology, approach, or philosophy that is different from the way things are done in school. For each of these differences, explain how the way things are done in school has had / can have a negative impact on your child/ren, and how the way things are done in home education has had /can have a positive impact on your child/ren.]
[State that since home education is so different from school education, it is highly problematic to try and regulate them in the same law.]
I would like to propose that the Children’s Act already sufficiently regulates home education, and no additional regulation is needed in the SASA or elsewhere. Section 18(2)(a) of the Children’s Act, read with the definition of “care” in the same Act, gives all children the right to have their education “ guided, directed and secured” by their family or parents. All the necessary principles, guidance, procedures and structures to regulate parental care (including education) are also provided in the Act. No additional regulation is therefore needed.
The SASA provides no principles, guidance, procedures or structures to facilitate decisions on the best interest of the child
According to Sections 4 and 51 of the SASA the Head of the Provincial Education Department (HOD) may decide whether a particular form of education is in the best interest of the child. Section 51 also provides that such a decision by the HOD may be appealed to the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of that province.
[Point out that the SASA does not include any principles, guidance, procedures, or structure to enable the HOD or MEC to make an appropriate decision.]
[State that you believe it is a child’s Constitutional right in terms of section 28(2) of the Constitution to have the child’s best interest be of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child. Proper care must be taken that this right is respected, promoted protected and fulfilled.]
[Point out that the HOD doesn’t know your child/ren from Adam. It will take a significant amount of time, money, and manpower per child to gather enough information on each child. This is not feasible, considering the budget available to provincial education departments. Point out that you, as a parent, know your child/ren intimately, and are in a much better position to make decisions on the best interest of the child, without having to spend extra time or money. Someone with less knowledge should not be allowed to overrule your decisions.]
[Point out that the HOD’s area of expertise is school education. However, the decision to home educate is rarely, if ever, made solely on educational grounds. Why did you decide to home educate? Name several of your considerations, leaving out educational considerations. Think of financial, psychological, religious, social, and familial considerations. Point out the fact that neither the HOD nor any of the officials are trained to deal with such matters, never mind make decisions about it. Repeat that the HOD’s area of expertise is school education and his jurisdiction should be limited to that area.]
While there are several significant problems with making decisions about the best interest of the child in terms of the SASA, the express purpose of the Children’s Act is to “ respect, protect, promote, and fulfil … the rights set out in section 28 of the Constitution.” The child’s right to have their best interest be regarded as of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child is one of the rights contained in section 28 of the Constitution.
The Children’s Act therefore contains all the necessary principles, guidance, procedures and structures to ensure that the child’s best interests are served in a particular matter.
The decision on whether a particular educational choice is in the best interest of the child should therefore rather be dealt with in terms of the Children’s Act, which is ideally suited and expressly developed for this kind of decision, than by the SASA, which is ill-suited for this purpose and contains none of the necessary contents to enable such a decision.
In light of the above points, I would like to ask the following:
- That proposed section 51 in the BELA Bill be deleted;
- That the current section 51 in the SASA be replaced with a section which includes the following:
[If you would like the opportunity to address the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education in person (an oral submission), ask for that opportunity here]
- A simple notification process which allows the HOD to keep track of children who are receiving education elsewhere than in school, without providing regulating powers to the HOD.
- An exemption clause from compulsory school attendance for children whose parents have notified the HOD of their intention to home educate.
- Discontinuation of exemption from compulsory school attendance only when the child returns to school, or when the Children’s Court orders the HOD to discontinue such exemption.
- Matters arising from home education shall be dealt with in terms of the Children’s Act, 38 of 2005.
[Express gratitude for the opportunity to comment, as you do not feel as if your voice has been heard by government while the Bill was being prepared. Thank the Chairperson for considering your submission.]