Feedback on parliamentary deliberations

Dear fellow Home educators

We are receiving so many questions and comments after yesterday’s parliamentary deliberations.

Uncertainty of what the process going forward entails and some just seeking assurance, being
overwhelmed by fear.

What happens next?

  1. The clauses will be rewritten to incorporate the changes decided upon. When this is finalised, the document (A-list) will be sent to the PCBE.
  2. The PCBE will meet to vote on the A-list on 1 September.
  3. Thereafter it will proceed to the National Council and from there to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
  4. The public has another chance to participate (details to follow but it will either be by public hearings or by written submissions).
  5. If approved, it is sent to the president to sign.

    On public participation:
    Cape Home Educators wrote to the Secretariat of the PCBE asking permission that participants be allowed to add written comments to our oral submissions at the public hearings, because 3 minutes was insufficient to deal with the complexities of the bill. We were refused on the grounds that participants all ready had the chance to make written submissions.

    If those written submissions, 9 501 emails, have not been processed/included into the report, how can this process be deemed to be giving justice to the constitutional requirement of public participation? Then parliament is not facilitating public participation by considering EVERY submission.

    We are awaiting the outcome regarding the unprocessed 9 501written submissions that had to be taken into account before the PCBE should have started their deliberations.

    Clause 37 accepted as is:
    Although it was decided to accept clause 37 “as is”, it will be reworded/rephrased to give clarity on certain details. It was decided that:
  • the independent assessor can be any professionally accredited person appointed by the parent, including an educational psychologist.
  • We have Mr. Ndlebe on record admitting that the DBE doesn’t know how to assess home educators.
  • Home visits don’t have to be at home, it can be in a public place and will only be performed in exceptional circumstances.
  • We have Mr. Ndlebe on record that the DBE don’t have the capacity to visit each home.
  • In the definitions, the definition of Basic education will be changed to include freedom of curriculum choice.
  • After each phase it must be demonstrated that learning took place in accordance with the curriculum followed. The curriculum must not be at a lower standard than CAPS.

    Thank you to each home educator warrior who are still fighting with us. Don’t loose faith or hope!

    I want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mrs.Sukers from the ACDP, Mr. Nodada and Ms. Van Zyl from the DA and to Dr. Boshof from the Freedom Front+ for their ferocity in representing our concerns amidst very hostile deliberations.

    Should we be fearful?
    I’m reminded of the story of David and Goliath, in 1 Samuel 17. The similarities are evident.

    The armies of Saul was defeated by fear, but David was indignant that Goliath dared to mock God. Be like David.

    Go rest, be replenished in prayer, and then clothed with the armour of God, lets go forth bravely to honour God and defeat this giant.

    Marietjie Ueckermann
    Cape Home Educators
    18 August 2023

A call for unity

Dear fellow Home Educators,

I am writing to you hoping to provide clarity on the new developments with the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

At the DBE Home Education Roundtable discussions, held in February 2020, it was decided that work groups had to be formed to continue engagement with all stakeholders for the continuation of the Roundtable process.

To achieve this, the Pestalozzi Trust invited relevant stakeholders in the home education movement (including prominent associations, organizations, curriculum service providers, independent advisors, as well as Facebook administrators) to a Home Education CODESA. This name was chosen, because the CODESA on which the South African constitution is based, was a meeting in which groups from very diverse backgrounds came together and found consensus on a new constitution.

The format of the CODESA was a series of online meetings during which stakeholders had discussions with the purpose of finding an unified position.

Cape Home Educators (CHE), and many other prominent associations, organizations and individuals in the home education movement participated in these meetings to form the Liberty in Learning Coalition (LIL).

Partnering with LIL
The Cape Home Educators constitution clearly states our objectives:
2.1 The Association shall endeavour to obtain the recognition of society and the protection of the law for the obligation and concomitant right of the parents to be able to educate their children themselves.
2.2 The Association recognizes that the State has a constitutional obligation towards the child to provide education, in cases where the parents are unable or unwilling to educate their children themselves.
2.3 The Association shall recognize that the parents have the right to delegate the task of education to persons of their own choice.
2.4 The Association shall, insofar it is able to,
2.4.1 Provide advice, guidance, assistance and support to existing and potential Home Schooling groups and/or families;
2.4.2 Investigate and research Home Schooling developments both nationally and internationally.

As our objectives are in complete alliance with the goals of the LIL coalition, stated here:
To (a) honor the responsibility of parents to serve the best interest of their children by promoting the freedom to tailor education to each child, and to (b) ensure that any laws governing education serve the best interest of the child and respect the role of family, community, and culture in education.

CHE have chosen to partner with the LIL Coalition to unite Home Educators in that common goal. Members of the LIL coalition agree to support and uphold their goals, as well as the integrity of each individual and organization associated with Liberty in Learning.

Furthermore, the coalition serves as a place for various home education associations to meet and debate differences, in order to act as a united front in defending the above-mentioned goal.

Renewed discussions on the Implementation of the Home education Policy
The LIL Coalition sent an email to the DBE to introduce the LIL Coalition, on 29 May 2020. This initiative opened the floor to renewed discussions between the DBE and LIL Coalition. These proceedings led to the DBE inviting LIL Coalition, home educators and other individuals to the formal online meeting that was held on Monday, 17 August 2020. Cape Home Educators representation consisted of myself, Tess Simmonds and Nicky Wesson. The Department asked that home educators should join their provincial associations to ensure that they are represented. Furthermore, they gave us one week to do so, expecting a complete list to be submitted containing provincial organization and task team representatives.

CHE has been in existence since 1996. We have engaged with the DBE for many years. We were at the forefront during the 2015 consultative meetings regarding the formulation of a new policy for home education in South Africa.

Representatives from all the home education associations and the Pestalozzi Trust reached a consensus on principles on which revised law and policy on home education can be based. Leendert van Oostrum defined six principles that described how home education could be regulated without infringing on the rights of children and parents. These principles were handed to the DBE at the end of the meeting in 2015.

We remained engaged, writing many letters, attending meetings, advocating home educational freedom.

The Policy was already signed by the Minister in 2018. The BELA Bill has not yet been promulgated. The current engagements is for so called “implementation” of that policy. However, the policy will need to change because it is based on the BELA Bill.

CHE invites you to join us, as we go forward to engage with the DBE

Though we can’t change the Policy now, our comments may influence it’s enabling legislation, the BELA Bill, and then as a result of that, the Policy might also have to change.

We hope a new, changed policy will come from this current engagement. Enabling Home Education, that will truly allow us to honour the responsibility of parents to serve the best interest of their children by promoting the freedom to tailor education to each child. To ensure that any laws governing education serve the best interest of the child and respect the role of family, community, and culture in education.

I call on you to stand united, not guided by fear and mistrust. To be informed of the right to home educate. This is not the time to allow divisive elements to drive our actions. We all need to responsibly consider the consequences of the decisions we make now.

This is our chance to preserve home educational freedom for generations to come.

You are welcome to contact me.

Marietjie Ueckermann
Cape Home Educators
Please support Liberty in Learning Coalition.

This document is also available for downloaded here

Comments on the Home Education Roundtable discussion, the Draft Policy on Home Education and the Amended BELA Bill

Hi fellow Home Educators.

Please find attached to this post the CHE’s response to the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs. AM Motshekga, related to the Home Education Roundtable Discussion, the Draft Policy on Home Education as well as the amended BELA Bill.

Please take the time to read and familiarize yourself with the current progress.

Please make use of the Social Media sharing buttons below this post to share to your favorite Social Media platform and help us spread the word.

Comments BELA Bill

The Director General

Private Bag x895



For Attention Adv. T.D. Rudman

Comments on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill

We, the Cape Home Educators (CHE), are an autonomous Home Educating association representing our constituents’ home education interests in the Western Cape. The Department of Education has the association on their database as an interested and affected party. In 2014 and 2015 we were invited by the DBE to take part in 2 two-day sessions respectively, which included various presentations from the main home educating associations, legal and other. 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.


Since homeschooling was legalized in South Africa at the dawn of our democracy, home education has been growing exponentially. In the 2011 census, there were approximately 58,000 children who were receiving home education in the country as the current education system failed families and could not cater for the various needs which children and families were burdened with. Contemplating international trends, we strongly believe that homeschooling will continue to increase at an exceptional rate.

Art.51 of the SA’s school act of 1996 which addresses home education, is such a failure that it resulted in only approximately 5% of home educators complying with the policy. Due to education officials not understanding the philosophy of home education, a great sense of mistrust has been bred over the years between the home educating community and the Department of Education. Therefore, as an association we can appreciate and welcome the efforts of the DBE to rectify the flaws of the current bill. Since the request for an extension on the closing date for the 10 November was not granted we reserve the right to continue submitting comments after the closing date. Unfortunately, the proposed changes in the BELA bill will make the situation worse and even fewer home educating families will comply. As an association we are grateful for the opportunity to work with government to find workable, viable solutions to these issues.

1. Art. 51 (1) & 51 (2)

51 (1) a parent of a learner who is of compulsory school going age may apply to the Head of Department for the registration of the learner to receive home education.

51 (2) The Head of Department must approve the application and register the learner as contemplated in subsection (1) if he or she is satisfied that-


Parents have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. From the ages of 0-7 years and from 15 years to adult, the parents can fulfil their responsibility to their children without having to ask for permission from the Head of Department.

If it is in the child’s best interest to be educated in an acceptable cultural and religious environment, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If schools are overcrowded and the institution cannot deliver adequate education, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If families are living in remote, rural areas far from educational institutions, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If a child has learning disabilities which the school cannot cater for, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If a child is abused, raped or bullied in a school, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If a child excels in a certain sport or cultural activity and needs more time to pursue this talent, which homeschooling accommodates, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

If the child has a physical disability or sickness and cannot function properly in a school environment, the parent should not be impeded by bureaucracy to do what is in the best interest of the child.

The above clause proposed in the BELA bill restricts the parent to fulfil their obligation to their children.


As an association we propose that the idea of having to ask permission from the HOD to home educate the child be removed and replaced with the parent having to notify the department of their intention to home educate.

2. Art.51(2)

(d)(iii) arrange for the learners educational attainment to be assessed annually by a competent assessor, approved by the Head of Department, at the parents own expense who will apply a standard that is not inferior to the standard expected in a public school according to the learners age, grade level and ability; and

51(2)(d)(iv) provide the Head of Department with the learners assessment report signed by a competent assessor


The financial burden placed on Home Educating families by this article, is extremely high. This will make home education unattainable for families of a low-income bracket and homeschooling will not be perceived as an educational option for all in South Africa, but only for the rich. Due to this fact, many homeschooling parents will be forced to send their children back to school, which will put further strain on the current institutional system.

Homeschooling families also contribute to the tax base which funds education. In more enlightened countries i.e. New Zealand, home educators receive grants for taking the responsibility to home educate and relieving the educational system and the state of the financial burden.

The department of education will have to appoint officials who can process and assess the reports of the 52 000 children who are currently being home educated. This, once again, will place an exorbitant financial burden on the state.


The current homeschooling curriculum providers offer various school-leaving internationally accredited qualifications. i.e. Cambridge, SAT’s, GED, CAPS. IEB, etc. These providers are, by default, regulating the home education environment just like the NSC are regulating schools.

At present schoolgoing children can advance through grades without passing a single exam, since they can only fail once per phase. Enforcing stricter policies on home educated children through annual assessment as condition for a learner’s registration for home education would constitute discrimination towards a minority group.

3. Art. 3 (6).

(a) any parent who without just cause and after a written notice from the Head of Department, fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and is liable of conviction or a fine or imprisonment for a period of six {months} years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.


As home educating parents sacrifice much i.e. an extra income, to do what is in the best interest of their children, they are now also liable to be imprisoned for six years for non-compliance with a draconian policy. Law abiding citizens will be criminalized as opposed to serious crimes of which the penalty is less than aforementioned. This section of the article will once again, drive home educating families into a covert position where they will act like a persecuted minority.


The current social, welfare and policing systems are adequate to prevent abuse of children and it should not become the task of the Department of Education.


Due to the lack of research by the DBE and proper consultation with the various effected parties, the BELA BILL, in its current form, will unfortunately, once again, be rejected by the home educating community. We therefore URGE the DBE to educate themselves with regards to home education and its various philosophies. The home educating community is driven by passionate parents who love their children immensely and have their best interests at heart. Herein is an opportunity for this passion to be channelled by government in the right direction, to benefit education in this country.


Victor Sabbe

CHE Chairman