As promised, here are some letter templates which can assist you in writing your letter to parliament. Choose one, open the file on your computer, and write away!
Each template consists of two parts: In the first part we help you write your letter, and in the second part we help you submit your letter. If you need more assistance, please do not hesitate to ask!
OPTION 1 If you believe that the home education sections in the BELA Bill should be re-written from scratch in a new Bill, and that home education doesn’t fit into a law made for school education, this is the option for you. Click here for a Word template and click here for an online template.
OPTION 2 If you believe that the DBE should regulate home education, but that the way it is done in the BELA Bill is problematic, you can ask for changes to the current BELA Bill. Click here for a Word template and click here for an online template, containing arguments against the most common problems home educators have with the requirements in the BELA Bill.
OPTION 3 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 option for you. Click here for a Word template and click here for an online template.
If you feel you first need to better understand these options before embarking on a letter, read this document, which is chock-full of valuable background info. Please also keep an eye on our Facebook page, as we regularly share submission tips, fact checks, and other useful information during this special period. Then like and share our posts on Facebook and on all your Whatsapp and Telegram groups as well!
Lastly – RELAX. stay calm. You have enough time, until June 15th at 16:00, to make your submission. So don’t let someone make you so anxious and stressed that you just send in a one-sentence comment! Breathe, take your time to read through the documentation we sent, and sit down and write a heartfelt letter for the sake of your children.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is the 2022 campaign the same as the one in 2017?
You might wonder: Is this the same thing all over again? Are we once again writing to the DBE and complaining about the law they want to make?
NO! It is not the same.
So what is the difference?
In 2017, when the BELA Bill was published for comment, we wrote to the DBE, and commented on the new bill. The DBE considered the changes we proposed, had meetings with key interested parties, made a few changes, and sent the Bill on its way to Parliament.
After a long journey the BELA Bill now at last has arrived in Parliament. Now, in 2022, we are writing to the PCBE. The PCBE (Portfolio Committee for Basic Education) consists of parliamentarians, and is the Parliamentary Committee which oversees Basic Education. The DBE has nothing to do with this round of comments. They won’t read it, and they won’t even receive it. The comments now go to the PCBE in Parliament, which is completely separate from the DBE.
This means that you are writing to a fresh ear. You are writing to people who have not previously thought about the contents of the BELA Bill. They didn’t write the Bill, and they may or may not be in favour of the Bill. Your letter could swing their favour one way or the other!
The members of the PCBE need solid arguments. They need good, well-thought out, solid contents in a letter, something that they can use to build an argument to oppose the BELA Bill or aspects of the Bill. It is not enough to express your disdain with the Bill. You need to exhibit knowledge of the Bill and the law in your letter, to help them build their arguments.
How to enlighten Parliament on the BELA Bill
To change their minds your letter should contain the following three elements:
- Your story. Parliament wants to hear your personal story. If you must drink a pill every time before a home visit, and your child cries for three weeks afterwards, put that in your letter. They want to hear it.
- How the BELA Bill, specifically, will ruin your life. Tell them exactly which clauses will make you and your child cry. Does your child hate exams? Clause 2(b)(iii) will enforce yearly assessments. Or tell them exactly why the BELA Bill should never have reached Parliament. No research, no consultation, no SEIA – be specific.
- Suggest a solution. Politicians can’t deal with problems without solutions. If you just give them the problem, they will pity you, but won’t really do anything else. So give them the solution to the problem you posed.
These three concepts are all contained in our submission guide and in the templates, so following either of them will produce a solid letter with impact.
What are we trying to do? We are trying to change their minds. To change their minds (viz to stop the BELA Bill), they need a rational argument, that will show the opposing party that they know what the Bill is about.
We have literally spent hundreds of hours studying the BELA Bill from all sides, and we put that down in solid articles for you. If you need more info on any aspect, please follow the links in the guide. They contain carefully set out info on all aspects covered in the templates.
We strongly propose that you use our submission system and our guide or templates. If you prefer to send your letter in another way, please cc a copy to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking part in this campaign! Something like this might not happen again in your lifetime – make the most of this opportunity.