NEWS & ANALYSIS

Public still have time to comment on ‘School Capture Bill' – Ian Ollis

DA MP says legislation will effectively diminish SGB powers over admissions and appointments

The public have until Friday to comment on the ‘School Capture Bill’

8 November 2017

The DA urges all School Governing Bodies (SGBs), teachers and school principals to submit comments on the Draft Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill by the close of business on Friday, 10 November 2017 to ensure that the process is as participatory as possible.

The DA is concerned with the implications of the Draft Bill as it will ensure the power that SGBs have is effectively taken away from them, by reducing their input in:

- The admission of learners; and

- The appointment of Heads of Departments (HODs), principals and deputy principals

This is concerning as SGBs are the closest entities to schools and the 9 Provincial Departments of Basic Education simply do not have the capacity to consider all applications for admissions for more than 24 000 schools across the country.

Appointing, transferring and promoting senior staff members would require the provincial departmental head to have close relationships with all schools in order to ensure that suitable people are placed. It is SGBs that have these relationships and not the relevant education department.

It would, therefore, make sense for the provincial head of department to work with SGBs to manage admissions and appointments at schools. This would also help avoid situations where, due to a lack of capacity, important decisions are devolved to junior officials by provincial HODs.

The Draft Bill poses further problems in the following areas.

Language Policy

This policy would need to be reviewed every three years and the process would be time-consuming and expensive.

Home Schooling Policy

The Draft Bill refuses to recognise non-South African service providers and would be detrimental to learners who use the Cambridge system, for example. Local service providers would need to be approved by the government.

SGBs understand the communities in which schools operate and to ensure the optimal performance of schools, the role they play should not be undermined. The DA will not allow government to reduce the power SGBs have. We will ensure our public schools are not turned into state schools through this Draft Bill.

The public are urged to send their comments to:

The Director-General, Private Bag X085, Pretoria, 01. For attention: Adv. TD Rudman,

Tel. (012) 357 3856, email: [email protected], fax (012) 323 9430.

Issued by Ian OllisDA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, 8 November 2017