Cape Home Educators Meeting with Western Cape Education Department (WCED): Minister Debbie Schäfer

On the 4th May 2021, Cape Home Educators attended a formal meeting with the WCED in Cape Town.

     The meeting was requested by the WCED in response to Cape Home Educators letter written to Debbie Schäfer outlining urgent concerns regarding the section 51 on Home Education in the BELA Bill, as it currently stands would severely restrict the freedom of home educators. In the letter, CHE also requested that the WCED meet with CHE representatives to discuss these concerns. CHE also asked for representation on the Education Council of the Western Cape.

     CHE invited the Pestalozzi Trust to the meeting. Pestalozzi Trust recently compiled a document, ‘The Impact of the BELA Bill’, which is based on research. Christopher Cordeiro, representing LearnFree, presented the research. He joined the meeting online from Johannesburg. Cape Home Educators gave a brief introduction of both it’s history and members, and introduced the Liberty in Learning Coalition.

     In our meeting we asked for WCED to engage home education representatives in an atmosphere of mutual trust, as this would be a pre-requisite for a successful collaborative relationship for future meetings. Pestalozzi Trust representative, Bouwe van der Eems made mention of home educators’ concerns regarding the BELA Bill. These concerns include: The application process of registration for home education, Curriculum choice, Monitoring and assessments, and Home visits. An alternative regulatory framework was proposed to address these concerns.

     Many home educators are concerned with the current Home Education section in the BELA Bill and how this will infringe on both their constitutional rights, as well as limiting their freedom to choose in the best interest of their children. Any section in the Bill that directs the methods and limitations of home education should be formulated in co-operation with home education representatives and those with expert knowledge of home education.

     Minister of Education in the Western Cape, Debbie Schäfer, has agreed to a follow up meeting with CHE. We hope that together, we can formulate a policy that will best support home educators while allowing government to work within the parameters of their basic requirements. The details of how these are practically catered for are of utmost importance.

      Minister Schäfer has agreed that CHE will have representation on the Education Council for the Western Cape which will enable us to determine these co-operatively. There has also been agreement to present our concerns at the Council of Education Ministers (CEM).

     We are excited about this positive step moving forward for all Home Educators.

     If you have not yet done so, we encourage you to join and support the associations in your region, such as Cape Home Educators (CHE) and special interest groups in the Liberty in Learning Coalition.

To join Cape Home Educators: https://www.capehomeed.co.za/join-che/

To find out more about Liberty in Learning: https://www.liberty-in-learning.org/


In the photo (left to right):
Advocate Lynn Coleridge-Zils (WCED)
Mr. Deon Louw (WCED)
Mr. Ian De Vega (WCED)
Liete van der Eems (Home Education Alumni Association, invited by CHE)
Marietjie Ueckermann (CHE Chairperson)
Bouwe van der Eems (Pestalozzi Trust, invited by CHE)
Tess Simmonds (CHE Secretary).
Western Cape Education Minister Debbie Schäfer

Christopher Cordeiro from LearnFree joined us online from JHB.


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