Various organizations once again raised their voices about the controversial Bela bill during the public consultation meetings held in Gauteng at the weekend.
According to Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s head of cultural affairs, the sessions were well attended and an overwhelming number of people protested during the sessions because the amending bill contains articles that pose a major threat to the future of quality education, and Afrikaans mother tongue education in particular. , contain
“Currently, the final decision on this rests with schools’ governing bodies, but the draft law states that the decision-making power must rest with provincial heads of education. This means centralization of power in the hands of the state, at the expense of communities’ right to decide for themselves about the interests of their children and schools.”
Like AfriForum, the DA is extremely concerned about the centralization of power in the hands of the state. However, Bax Nodada, the party’s spokesperson on education, says they are encouraged by this past weekend’s public participation and the level of engagement among South Africans.
“Most people seem to share the DA’s concerns about the bill, especially the so-called Lesufi clauses which seek to put power in the hands of the department and the minister and take away school governing bodies’ powers over admission and language policy .”
The bill also ignores concerns about homeschooling and doesn’t address the real issues in schools, Nodada says. These problems include too many children dropping out, crumbling infrastructure and poor quality education.
The DA is also concerned that certain articles can be used to cause mother-tongue teaching to fall into the trap, particularly at single-medium schools.
“The centralization of power leads to large-scale failure with devastating consequences for everyone except the government.”
AfriForum says it is important that all stakeholders provide input on the proposed legislation.
The organization is of the opinion that it would be better to scrap the entire concept and rethink existing legislation.
“It is now time to think again about school legislation and come up with new proposals, rather than further spending time and money on this ideologically charged, unconstitutional and outdated draft law,” says Bailey.
- The public hearings continue this week in Secunda and KwaZulu-Natal and after that hearings will be held in the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape.
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