MEDIA BRIEFING: 10 JANUARY 2018
CAUSE FOR JUSTICE ENTERS THE FRAY ON EDUCATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
Cause for Justice (‘CFJ’) today submitted written comments on the draft Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (‘the BELA Bill’) to the Department of Basic Education. CFJ’s submissions focus on the detrimental impact the BELA Bill will have (if it were to become law) on the constitutional rights and institutional authority of parents and the family in the context of public school education in South Africa.
WHAT IS AMISS ABOUT BELA?
CFJ argues forcefully that parents have the primary responsibility for the education of their child and enjoy a fundamental right to actively participate in the governance of the public school that their child attends. The State has a duty to support parents and school governing bodies to effectively exercise these rights in the best interest of their children.
A number of proposed amendments in the BELA Bill expressly aim to give provincial education departments the final say in the appointment of teachers, and in the formulation of admissions and language policies at individual schools. This poses a direct threat to parents’ rights to effectively participate and play a determinative role in school governance and to school governing bodies’ ability to exercise these rights on behalf of parents.
‘We have serious reservations about the centralisation of powers in the Head of Department/provincial education departments.’
‘The current system of decentralising decision-making to school governing bodies acknowledges the inherent rights of parents. Parents, precisely because they are parents, are the final authority on decisions concerning the education of their child. Colloquially put, “parents have the final say”, as long as they themselves don’t act unconstitutionally.’
In the end, the very thing that the proposed amendments ostensibly seek to promote, will suffer: The provision of quality basic education to the children of South Africa.
[MEDIA BRIEFING ENDS]
To view CFJ’s submissions, follow this link: www.causeforjustice.org/6486-2
For further queries, contact CFJ at:
Tel: 083 235 1511