The Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (BELA Bill) comment deadline is tomorrow — November 10 2017 — but the ACDP has been told that the Department of Basic Education has promised that late submissions will be considered.
ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley this week said that: “The ACDP shares the concerns of many that the proposed bill will undermine public school governing bodies and negatively impact on communities if the authority and responsibility to choose teachers language policy and admissions policy is taken out of their hands.
Home schoolers feel threatened by the bill as it stands as it will not only take away curriculum and final exam choices but the state will be empowered to refuse to allow home schooling if they choose to.
The religious ethos of community schools has traditionally been influenced by parents, who had some say in choosing teachers, language and admission policies, through their governing body representatives. The bill creates the impression that the intention of the state is that parents will now have no say in any aspect of their child’s education and that the state is overstepping its authority.
The ACDP fully supports the rights of parents to maximum freedom to make choices regarding their children’s upbringing and education. It is our contention that parents should be presumed competent to do so unless they prove otherwise and even then support should be given to assist rather than further destabilize”.
For submissions to be taken seriously it is best if it is in your own words and not a “form letter” even if it is brief.
Please email a copy of your submission to the ACDP at firstname.lastname@example.org
“At this stage public comments will be considered in terms of helping the Department of Education “fine-tune” the bill. Once the department submits the draft bill to parliament for consideration it will be sent to the Basic Education Committee who will begin a process of public participation and the public will get further opportunities to make submissions and presentations.
If the bill is passed by the National Assembly it will then go to the NCOP and another round of public participation will begin in provinces. This will not be a quick process – however – bills do fall away at the end of each Parliament and 2019 is looming – so some haste in this regard can be expected.”