The ACDP has come out in support of the Home Education community and shares many of their concerns which include among other things, that home education under the current Act is treated as a form of independent education and that aspects of the draft policy are measures appropriate to public education.
ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “the ACDP is of the opinion that the policy is unworkable in practice. Under-resourced provincial education departments will not be able to cope with the administrative burden of the policy, and significant additional costs will be placed on home educating families”.
A fully constituted meeting of the Council of Education Minister’s (CEM) has approved the Home Education policy for promulgation by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga. This approval comes after a lengthy consultation process that spanned almost four years.
As far back as October 2014 the first consultation meeting with the home education community and other key stakeholders was held. The meeting was attended by representatives from Home Education Associations, Pestalozzi Trust (the legal arm for some parents); Independent Curriculum Providers; ISASA, Umalusi; South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI); South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE); Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET); and the Department of Basic Education (DBE). In this meeting Home Education stakeholders presented national and international research to the DBE. The home education community expressed appreciation for the opportunity as it was the first time ever that the state engaged them on the practice, whether pre- and/or post 1994.
A second consultation meeting with stakeholders was held in July of the following year where a discussion document was presented and a working group was set up involving all stakeholders. Unfortunately some of the stakeholders resigned from this process citing disagreements with the document, and that they would not be seen as part of the DBE team to review the 1999 policy. The Working Group, however, was able to continue with its work until the draft policy was gazetted in November 2017 for the public to make submissions within 21 days. The Department received numerous requests from the public to extend the submission date to which it obliged and the new closing date for submissions, 31 January 2018, was communicated to the public.
A total of 740 submissions were received and the DBE acknowledged receipt of each submission. Between February and July 2018, the Working Group captured submissions received, analysed them and reviewed the policy after having considered progressive inputs.
The policy was presented to DBE management structures and was approved by the Heads of Education Department Committee (HEDCOM) to be tabled at a CEM meeting for promulgation. The CEM of 19 July 2018 approved the policy. The Department is currently preparing a gazette for promulgation.
The Department is aware that a small grouping is opposed to the policy and has been spamming departmental officials requesting that the policy not be promulgated. However, considering the extensive and all-encompassing consultation process, the Department of Basic Education is confident that all comments on the policy have been adequately ventilated, all in the best interest of ensuring that every child has a right to basic education as enshrined in the Constitution and the approved policy will get promulgated as approved by CEM.
ISSUED BY: CHERYLLYN DUDLEY MP
31 July 2018