Write your Submission on the BELA Bill and submit it to the NCOP: Here’s how!
The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) will close the period for submissions on the BELA Bill at 16:00, on the 19th of January, 2024, just over a week from now. This is the last chance for national submissions on the Bill.
Impact on home schoolers
The BELA Bill proposes significant changes that will impact your home schooling journey:
- If the Bill passes, you’ll be required to register your children for home education when starting with home education, and thereafter notify the Department at the end of each phase of your intention to continue with home education.
- You will have to have your children assessed by a “competent assessor”.
- Your children will have to be assessed against CAPS.
- The Minister will have broad powers to make regulations on home schooling.
- The BELA Bill will set the education landscape for the next 15-20 years. Your submission now can shape this landscape
Make your voice heard
This is an opportunity to ensure that your views on the Bill are officially recorded by Parliament. Your perspective matters in shaping the future of home schooling in South Africa.
You have the option to oppose the entire Bill, either due to conflicts with your beliefs, or on the basis that Cabinet instructions were not adhered to during the development and distribution of the SEIA. You could argue that the BELA Bill does not accurately represent the realities on the ground, taking into account the diversity of home education practices, or contend that it would not function effectively in practice.
Alternatively, you can support a constitutionally compliant proposal. Parliamentarians have to listen to you. If many of home schoolers make a constitutionally sound proposal, and it is rejected, the Bill can be struck down in the same way as the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act was, for failing to properly consider the views of the public.
Writing your submission
In order to help you make your voice heard, the Trust has put together two templates for submissions. Follow the instructions included in the document of your choosing, to add your unique views and personal experiences.
- Pressed for Time: If you’d like to make short work of your submission, while still covering the essential points, choose this template. It includes comprehensive instructions to create a unique and substantial submission. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a Word copy of the document.
It also includes an appendix, with a constitutionally compliant proposal for amending the Bill, checked by the Trust’s legal experts.
- Stop the Bill: This is for those who have a little more time to make an in-depth submission. It is geared towards allowing you to express your views with more detail, while ensuring the basics are covered. Please contact us at email@example.com for a Word copy of the document.
We are also linking these reference documents, to show the changes the Bill will create.
- Quick Reference Guide: ‘Home Ed Highlights’. This includes the clauses that will make the most impact on home schooling. You can find it here.
- ‘Plain English’ version: ‘Explain it like I’m Five’. This covers all clauses relevant to home schooling, in an accessible style. You can find it here.
- Comprehensive Summary: ‘The Actual Law’. This in-depth guide includes direct quotations from the relevant legislation. You can find it here.
Additionally, the procedural flaws in the BELA Bill are summarised here.
Once you have completed your submission, follow the detailed instructions to send it to Parliament, included in each document.
Protection of Your Personal Information
We understand that many home schoolers hesitate to correspond with Parliament and share personal details, fearing potential prosecution
Parliament and the DBE are two completely separate branches of government. Parliament is in the legislative branch; it makes laws, it does not enforce them. It collects information in order to represent the wishes of the people in those laws. It would be highly irregular for it to share that information with the executive branch, (in this case the DBE) and there is no mechanism to allow such sharing.
This separation is further protected by the POPI Act. Any sharing of personal details without your permission is an offence.
You can ensure your rights are protected by simply stating in your submission that you are providing your personal information to the South African Parliament, specifically the National Council of Provinces, and that it is not to be shared outside of the Council.
A Pestalozzi Promise
If you are still concerned, we understand. In order to give you the peace of mind that you will be protected, the Trust has promised to assist any home schooler who is prosecuted as a result of making a submission.
We believe that no-one will be prosecuted, but we hope that this promise will give you the confidence to make your voice heard without fear.
Finally: Thank you!
This campaign has been a long and hard-fought one. We would like to thank you for your perseverance and participation in protecting the right to home school.