The DA welcomes the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education’s announcement that the submissions period for the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill has been extended to 15 August 2022.
The DA had numerous concerns regarding the initial call for public participation. Only the English call was published in a national newspaper, while the call in the other official languages were merely published in regional newspapers. The English call for submissions were also published earlier than in the other languages not allowing indigenous language speakers the same amount of time to submit their concerns.
The DA calls on the Department of Basic Education to ensure that the extended call for public participation is flawlessly executed and that all languages would receive equal and ample notification.
The DA has a number of concerns regarding the BELA Bill, which ‘Lesufi-clauses’ seek to disempower school governing bodies (SGBs) with regards to language and admissions policies. We believe the power should remain with the SGBs who know and understand the needs of their communities and have their best interests at heart.
Given the potential growth of these forms of schooling, the Bill also misses the opportunity to ensure the effective regulation of blended and online learning. Greater consultation is also needed with the home schooling sector before determining the accountability measures to ensure quality education standards.
The Bill also fails to address the serious practical concerns of making grade R compulsory and the impact this will have on the current infrastructure and human resources available.
We call on the public to submit their concerns in writing to Llewellyn Brown, the secretary of the parliamentary portfolio committee via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or online at https://forms.gle/MoC6AdbdQyYPk3Y49 or via WhatsApp: +27 60 550 9848 by no later than 15 August 2022 at 16:00.