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Have your say: Bill that seeks to make major changes to SA school system now open for comment

Picture: Bheki Radebe

Picture: Bheki Radebe

Published May 18, 2022

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A bill that could see a number of massive changes within the Basic Education Laws Bill is now open for public comment.

The bill proposes to amend the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No 84 of 1996), and the Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act No 76 of 1898) (the SASA and the EEA, respectively), so as to align them with developments in the education landscape and to ensure that systems of learning are put in place in a manner which gives effect to the right to basic education enshrined in section 29(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

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Among others, the bill seeks to amend certain definitions; to provide that attendance of Grade R is compulsory, and to provide for system improvements in terms of admission of learners to public schools. It also provides for financial and public accountability frameworks for governing bodies and provincial departments.

The bill further provides for additional regulatory powers of the minister, and enhancing decision making and oversight powers of heads of departments and members of the executive councils.

The bill also proposes technical and substantive adjustments, clarify certain existing provisions, insert provisions which are not provided for in existing legislation and strengthen enforcement mechanisms for offences and penalties.

In February, the committee was briefed on the bill.

DBE Minister Angie Motshekga said the bill had been long in the making.

“The delays in its processing were due to going back and forth on the matter. Although the bill was not perfect, I am glad to have reached this point of consensus and that soon it would be put through. The bill could not be further delayed, as it included important amendments. All outstanding issues regarding the bill would be dealt with at a later stage, once it had been put through,” Motshekga said.

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Comments must be sent to Mr Llewellyn Brown, the Committee Secretary, via email: [email protected] or online at https://forms.gle/MoC6AdbdQyYPk3Y49 or via WhatsApp: +27 60 550 9848 by no later than June 15, 2022 at 4pm.

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