Members of the Pestalozzi Trust have been writing to the Provincial Education Ministers to ask them to discuss home educators’ concerns with the Minister of Basic Education when she consults them on the BELA Bill. We ask all home educators to join this campaign.
The Pestalozzi Trust campaign to encourage members to write to their Provincial Education Ministers about the controversial BELA Bill has been exceptionally successful. You will have seen on social media that letters by homeschoolers have played an important role in convincing the Western Cape MEC to meet with the Cape Home Educators and that that meeting was an important first step. View the media release here.
Now we want that to happen in every province!!!
Pestalozzi Trust members have already sent in their letters and some have used our template letter to inspire them to write. If you have time to write a letter from scratch or use the template, you can find more details by following the links.
A special automatic letter
However, we know that you may not have time to write from scratch (it is exams for many, after all). So we are making it easy for you to participate, for we have created a special platform that will generate a letter for you automatically. No need to look up details; just fill in the information requested and personalise your letter by adding a paragraph (or more – there is no limit), hit send and your letter will be winging its way to your MEC.
Problems to address with your MEC
That’s right, this is a really advanced system and your letter will be automatically personalised with details for your province. It has taken a lot of planning and programming, but the Trust is proud to have created an automatic campaign system that is similar to the Dear SA platform, but we hope even better, as ours is the only one exclusively focussed on education issues. This builds on the skills we developed when we developed a similar platform when you wrote to the Minister during our previous CEM campaign around the Policy on Home Education.
Here is a quick recap on the specific problems with the BELA Bill that need to be addressed with the MECs:
- The Pestalozzi Trust has provided two legal opinions to the DBE that set out that home visits infringe on the right to privacy. These concerns haven’t been addressed.
- The Bill was drafted without any basis in research. For example, there is no credible research on the number of home learners. How can the impact of the BELA Bill be assessed if there are no accurate statistics on something as basic as the number of home learners in South Africa?
- The Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) has not considered the budgetary impact of the Bill on parents and provinces. The costs associated with such assessments could potentially run into the tens of millions of Rands. South Africa can ill afford another wasteful expenditure.
How do I send a letter
To send your letter, just click on the link for your province provided below to open a form. Enter your name and email address in the form and write a paragraph explaining how long you have been homeschooling, the reason why you chose home education and the impact it has had on your family.
NB: If you are in the Western Cape, you have already helped secure a meeting with the Minister of Education. We are working on the next step – we will keep you informed and no doubt will be asking for your help soon.
What will my letter to the minister look like?
When you submit the form, the platform will generate a letter to the minister with your unique message and an explanation of your concerns around BELA Bill. It will also ask your MEC to:
- Agree to meet with home education associations, interest groups, parents and experts prior to discussing the Bill in Council of Education Ministers (CEM) and inform themselves on the concerns of home educators.
- Engage with home education organisations, such as the Pestalozzi Trust and members of the Liberty in Learning coalition of home education organisations, that can provide research-based advice on the socio-economic impact of the Bill in the province.
Since this platform generates a personalized letter, it is not a petition, but an individual request to which the minister should respond.
The Pestalozzi Trust platform also keeps records of all the submissions that were made, so that this can be used as evidence in any legal challenges. You will also receive a copy of the letter that was sent for your records.
The letter received by the minister will only contain your name and email address, and no further personal information. This information cannot be used to prosecute you. See a sample of the copy you will receive here.
If you haven’t written already, please do so now! Our social media posts will be coming out soon; so please share those on social media and in homeschooling groups to encourage other home educators to write too!