First African Home Education Indaba held in South Africa

‘Home education is a right of parents and children that must be protected by every state. Nations that respect and protect the right of parents and children to home educate demonstrate a commitment to respecting human rights, but governments which restrict home education don’t trust their citizens,’ said Mike Donnelly, SC, Director of Global Outreach at the HSLDA. He was a key speaker at the historic first African Home Education Indaba, held in Pretoria from 17-19 October, 2019, organised by the African Subcommittee of the GHEX, of which the Pestalozzi Trust is a member. Delegates from a number of nations gathered to confirm their solidarity as a global homeschooling movement.

Although the right to home education is protected in many international treaties and documents like the UDHR (1948), parents internationally and in many African countries like Kenya and Uganda are in a continual battle with government infringement on parental and family rights, says Godfrey Kyazze, homeschooling leader from Uganda. Peter Stock, President of the HSLDA in Canada reported that even countries like Canada experience the same threat to home education. In South Africa the freedom of homeschooling parents will be seriously restrictled if the BELA Bill, published for comment in October 2017, is passed as law.

‘Homeschooling is good for children. It’s good for families. It’s good for communities. It’s good for countries. It’s good for the whole world,’ Donnelly said. Speaking on freedom in education, Alexey Komov, Russian homeschooling leader and board member of the GHEX, testified to the freedom homeschoolers presently enjoy in the former Soviet country, where families are actively taking the responsibility for raising their children themselves, instead of abdicating this right to the state.

Policy-makers and government officials who attended the Indaba received solid researched information on all aspects of homeschooling. International researchers who attended the Indaba were Dr. Debra Bell, author and researcher from the USA, and Dr. Brian Ray, from the National Home Education Research Institute in the USA. Research confirms that the amount and intensity of regulation of homeschooling does not contribute to the success of homeschoolers.

The Indaba indeed is a symbol of hope. ‘We have been able to inspire and inform one another,’ says Canute Waswa, homeschooling father and leader from the East African Community of Homeschoolers. ‘A generation of passionate young parents are rising up who are determined to do whatever it takes to ensure that homeschooling succeeds, not only for their generation, but also for the generations to come!’ So in spite of many obstacles – legal, social and political – the attendees of the Indaba could confirm that they are looking towards a bright future for home education in the African continent.

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