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Stop the proposed amendment of School Acts in South Africa towards homeschoolers

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BELA Fact Sheet: What does BELA say?
Bela is the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill, the “BELA Bill”[

On the 13th October 2017 the Department of Basic Education released the draft of the BELA Bill for public comment.
This is the first stage of the process followed for a Bill to become an Act.

We as the public currently have until the 10th November 2017 to comment on the Bill.
BELA is an amendment Bill. That means it is amending previous existing legislation. If you want to fully understand BELA, you must not only look at BELA but at the Acts it is replacing.

In this case the most important Act that it proposes amending is the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 (SASA) [

BELA contains a number of provisions that will at very least severely limit the freedom of parents to educate their children at home.
The most important changes are contained in Clause 25, which is the clause dealing with the Substitution of Section 51 of SASA (p.60).
The most important changes are the following:

You must follow the CAPS Curriculum
“51(2)(c) the proposed home education programme is suitable for the learner’s age, grade level, ability and covers the acquisition of content and skills at least comparable to the relevant national curriculum determined by the Minister; and”

The key phrase here is “contents”. You will have to have a curriculum that at least covers the content of CAPS

A “competent assessor” must assess your child every year at your cost
“51(2)(d)(iii) arrange for the learner’s educational attainment to be assessed annually by a competent assessor, approved by the Head of Department, at the parent ‘s own expense who will apply a standard that is not inferior to the standard expected in a public school according to the learner’s age, grade level and ability; and”

This essentially means a school teacher will have to assess your child annually to see if they have covered the content of the CAPS curriculum. You will have to pay for this. In the higher grades it is likely that you will have to pay for multiple assessors as a single assessor will not be competent to assess a subject they do not teach. This will apply up to and including grade 9.

If you want to write a ‘matriculation exam’you must write the Senior Certificate Exam i.e. the South African matric.

“51(6) A parent of a learner who wishes to continue with home education after the learner has completed grade 9, must make use of the services of a private or independent service provider accredited by Umalusi, established in terms of section 4 of the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act. 2001 (Act No. 58 of 2001), to register for the Senior Certificate Examination through an independent or private assessment body.”

This means the following:

You must use an “accredited service provider” – no self study
You must complete grade 10,11 and 12 to write your matric
This will cost you upward of R30 000 and rising
You may not write the GED, Cambridge or any other international ‘matric’ unless you enrol in a school to do that.
In addition Clause 2 (a) which deals with the amendment to Section 3 (6) of SASA (p.50) states that a home educating parent may now be jailed for 6 years.

“ 3(6)(a) any parent who without just cause and after a written notice from the Head of Department, fails to comply with subsection (1), is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six [months] years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment; or”

Cottage Schools/Learning Centres
In Clause 1, which amends Section 1 of SASA (p.49), it is made very clear that ‘Cottage Schools’, ’Tutor centres’ and ‘Learning Centres’ are not considered as places of home education and not covered by this Bill.

at 1.(e) ” home education’ means a purposeful programme of education for a learner, alternative to school attendance, which—,(a) is provided under the direction of the learner’s parent primarily in the environment of the learner’s home;”

All of the aforementioned changes actually go against the constituion and as such is an illegal act to enforce parents to follow the department of education's very lax stance on education.

As such, the amendment will undoubtedly cause an immediate deterioration of service delivery in all schools, including the quality of education provided. It also strips communities of the right to have part in the education of their children.

By adding my name to this document of objection against the proposed amendment, I call on parliament to reject it.

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