Proposed education legislation amounts to ‘school capture’, says FEDSAS


“This type of state control that goes against everything a democracy stands for.”
This is the opinion of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS) regarding the proposed Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill.
Laerskole Nelspruit, Laeveld, Bergland, Witrivier, Malelene, Barberton, Sabie, Clivia and Nelspruit Primary, Hoërskole Nelspruit, Bergvlam, Rob Ferreira, Barberton, Sybrand van Niekerk and Lowveld High School, and every other state school in the Lowveld will change drastically concerning who makes decisions on the running of schools, and their futures, should the Bill be implemented.
The proposed Amendment Bill was announced by the former minister of higher education, Blade Nzimande on October 13 and is aimed at limiting certain functions of school governing bodies, including being able to make recommendations about certain appointments, admission and language policies as well as certain financial functions.

“This Amendment Bill takes us back to a model where the state controls everything. It goes against the spirit of the South African Schools’ Act, which provides for public schools and not state schools,” said Dr Jaco Deacon, deputy CEO of FEDSAS.

Deacon says people have until November 10 to comment on the Amendment Bill. FEDSAS encourages all education role-players to comment.

A copy of the Amendment Bill is available on the FEDSAS website at under the link “What is new?”

“Parents should take note of the fact that the proposed Bill places a limitation on the right of parents to make decisions about their children’s education. In essence, it is a violation of the Constitution as school governing bodies enable parents to be involved in decision making.”

Deacon says it is of paramount importance that parents are involved in formal school governance structures. “If governing bodies do not function properly or if parents and other education role-players are not involved in these structures it strengthens the claim made with this Bill.”

The Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill proposes, among others, that governing bodies play no role in the appointment of school-level heads of department, deputy principals and principals. Currently a school’s governing body makes a recommendation about these appointments.

Other functions targeted by the Amendment Bill include admission and language policies as well as certain financial functions.

“If the serious shortcomings in the proposed Bill are not pointed out and changed we will spend millions on reactive court cases and other actions. Now we have the opportunity to be proactive. However, this can only happen if all education role-players commit, comment and create awareness about the implications,” concluded Deacon.


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