File photo: INLSA
Cape Town - Home education will only be available to the rich and no longer to everyone in South Africa, should amendments to the home education policy go through.

The Department of Basic Education called for public comment on the Draft Policy on Home Education.

Cape Home Educators chairperson Victor Sabbe said that through the new policy, a larger financial burden would be placed on both parents and the government.

He said home-schooling associations were part of the review process of the home education policy in 2014, but they left the process as they believed the department wanted to "co-parent and we as parents disagreed as it would really mean the state capture of the family".

Sabbe said there was a massive outcry by parents and said the department had received so many emails that “their server crashed we were instructed to ask our members to stop sending objections".

“If the department does not listen to our concerns about the policy parents will just not comply, like what has been happening for the last 20 years. The department would have to spend time and money and would have achieved absolutely nothing. All we are asking is that they listen to us. We are more than willing to work with them to make education great in our country.”

The department said that home education was a “purposeful programme of education for a pupil, alternative to school attendance, which is provided under the direction and supervision of the pupil’s parent primarily in the environment of the pupil’s home.

They said home education was recognised under section 51 of the SA Schools Act, 84 of 1996, as a lawful alternative to compulsory attendance at school. The amendment will substitute section 51 of the act, to provide an application process for registration of pupils for home education.

The department noted, in the bill, that home education had a number of benefits, particularly for pupils with learning disabilities, professional athletes and those who are far away from suitable schools.

“The amendments create clarity in regard to the powers and responsibilities of the head of department as well as the responsibilities of the parents of the pupil. 

"Currently, the legislation is silent on what is required of parents where they wish to home school pupils in Grades 10 to 12. The amendment makes provision for the parent of a pupil who wishes to continue with home education after completing Grade 9, by making use of the services of a private or independent service provider to register for the national senior certificate with an independent or private assessment body.”

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Cape Argus