The Director General
Private Bag x895
For attention Adv. T. D. Rudman
Dear Adv Rudman
Request for extension on the closing date of 10 November, for comments on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill
Dear Adv Rudman
We are an autonomous Homeschooling Association called the Cape Home Educators (CHE) which represents Homeschooling interests in the Western Cape.
The Department of Education has the Association on their database as an interested and effected party.
In 2014 and 2015 we were invited by the DBE to take part in two 2-day sessions respectively, which included various presentations from the main representative Homeschooling associations, legal and other, in SA, together with related dynamic discussion and dialogue. These sessions were constructive and according to Dr Simelane and others, very informative and educational, but nevertheless too short to adequately address the various complex issues.
The CHE withdrew from the next phase which was the “working groups”, due to a foundational principle that the DBE and the association could not agree on, namely the DBE claim that the child ‘belongs to the state’, which contradicts the values enshrined in the Constitution, both local and internationally
This notion would inevitably be interpreted by parents as the state usurping the essential role of the family, whose responsibility it is to act in the best interest of their child. This state view is ominously reminiscent of totalitarian, Marxist philosophy, an ideology that globally, has repeatedly proven to fail. As Marx himself said, “in order to create a perfect socialist state, you have to destroy the family, substituting governmental authority for that of the parent’s, in the rearing of their children”. History is replete with failures ensuing from this systemically flawed philosophy.Regardless of the differences however, , we made it clear to the DBE that we were available and willing to work and dialogue with them on an ongoing basis, to find practical, workable solutions to these weighty issues which encapsulate our Constitution.
On 13 October 2017 the Department of Basic Education (DBE) published a draft bill with proposed amendments to the SA Schools Act on the Website of the South African Government for public comment. The draft bill, however, proposes changes that could severely restrict the freedom of parents to choose the education that is in the best interest of their children. The public is given until 10 November to submit their comments.
As an interested and effected party which represents Home-schooling parents and has been engaging constructively with the DBE, we were extremely disappointed that we were not officially informed or invited to make comment on the new bill, especially considering the expressed willingness of the DBE, during the talks of 2014 And 2015, to involve the representative Homeschool organizations in ongoing discussion and consultation . To our knowledge the DBE has been working on this document for at least 4 years since 2014, while we as educating parents, are expected to contribute comments within the unreasonable and unrealistic time-frame of one month only.
The primary reasons for the request are:
1) As an Association we need to consult with our members and get consensus. You would know that this is a time-consuming process, when done properly. If the DBE had notified us sooner, we could have initiated the process with sufficient time at our disposal, for proper, meaningful input and comment.
2) The Association needs to budget for and obtain adequate, expert legal advice in this matter.
3) This is a busy time of the year, and most families are engaged in exams, among other end of the year commitments, with little or no time at their disposal to apply themselves and comment on the proposed Bill, so exercising their democratic right.
4) Institutions and providers of the various curricula to Home-schoolers, whose input in this process would be equally invaluable, are also inundated and engaged in examination during this time.
As the ancient axiom goes, healthy families build strong communities and strong communities in turn build powerful nations. Due to the complex issues addressed in the Bill, issues directly attacking and threatening the sustainability of healthy families and responsible parenting, this Bill in its current form would undoubtedly contribute to the demise of our nation.
Due to the lack of research by the DBE and proper consultation with the various affected parties, we believe the process to be severely compromised, even in its inception, and would not accurately represent our great democracy.
We urgently request that the date for submissions be extended by at least six months, in order for the democratic process to be followed fairly and justly.
Please revert back to us within 7 days of receipt of this letter, in order for us to provide feedback to our members.