Parliament has extended the deadline for the public to submit their comments on the proposed changes to the Schools Act as well as the Employment of Educators’ Act to 15 August.
The proposed changes deal with a number of issues relating to education such as the school’s language policy, and the powers of education authorities to the criminalisation of the disruption of schooling activities.
The bill was submitted to Parliament by the Department of Basic Education.
“The process of amending the Basic Education laws has been ongoing for about four years now. It has been an inclusive, transparent process that has involved stakeholders, general members of the public and we have sought to invite as many comments as possible so that we enrich the process. And in every step we invited society and everybody else that is involved in the education space,” says the department’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.
The department says the envisaged changes to the education laws are not aimed at taking over the powers of the School Governing Bodies (SGB).
Mhlanga says the main objective of the bill is to align the powers of the SGBs with the policies of the department.
“And we have sought to make the changes because we want to strengthen governance, fix the challenges that we have been seeing at schools. But also review the rules of the School Governing Bodies because there have been abuses in certain instances by SGBs and we felt the need to make changes that will strengthen governance in schools and streamline the functioning of schools. So, there is no taking of power from the SGBs but at the same time, you cannot allow a situation where the power of the SGBs is absolute. It can’t be.”