KZN parents urged to speak up at Bela Bill hearings

PHOTO: Mche Lee/Unsplash.com

Philip Rosenthal of ChristianView network urges parents in KwaZulu-Natal to speak up at the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill public hearings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If the legislation, commonly referred to as the BELA education bill, passes in its current form it will result in government taking power away from parents by weakening school governing bodies and making home education more difficult.

Rosenthal says that the proposed law would have a number of unreasonable impacts, including giving the state control over the admissions policy of schools.

“It would give them control over the procurement policy. It would also require that all school governing body members would have to declare their financial interests, which I would say is completely unreasonable, whene all they would need to do to avoid an allegation of corruption is to declare any business with the school,” he sayd.

“The bill would also make it more difficult for homeschoolers by making it more expensive for them to, do homeschooling and would put a penalty of up to a year in jail for stopping a child from going to school, which could be used against homeschoolers,” he says.

The weekend public hearings schedule is:

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The ACDP, which has also been calling on parents to participate in the Bela Bill public hearings, warns that Clause 41 allows for the Minister of Basic Education to make regulations concerning learner pregnancy. In a recent Facebook post the ACDP says: “These regulations would be made in terms of the ‘Policy on the Prevention and Management of Learner Pregnancy’, and to understand what the Minister will be empowered to do you have to study the policy.

“What the Minister is asking for now is for the power to make regulations that will turn this abortion policy into an abortion law. Once these regulations have the force of law, teachers, SGB members, and parents, will be breaking the law if they do not obey these regulations. Not only does the Minister want the power to make regulations, but she also wants the power to send any person to jail for defying them. If the BELA Bill passes un-amended the second part of Clause 41 will give the minister the power to create offences that carry fines and jail sentences of up to six months. These regulations could also force teachers to refer learners from as young as the age of 12 for abortions, and all forms of contraception, and compel them to keep this secret from their parents.”

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