In July, TEASA held a webinar to delve into the implications of the newly proposed Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill that is before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Basic Education. The Chief Director for Planning and Implementation from the Department of Basic Education, Mr James Ndlebe, took us through the bill and discussed the various aspects of the bill.
This is the first major amendment to the South African Schools Act (SASA) since it was first enacted in 1996. As education is a key social service in our country, it was encouraging that ordinary citizens from all of South Africa’s provinces, engaged with the proposed amendments, and expressed their concerns with those aspects they found contentious.
Likewise, many Christian groups, with stakes in articles of the bill involving home schooling, admissions, language in schools, selling of liquor during school functions, the role of school governing bodies versus the provincial departments, involved themselves in the public consultations processes in the provinces, while also making written submissions towards the proposed amendments. These submissions will be considered by the portfolio committee in its deliberations on the bill.
As we continue to monitor the process, it is our prayer and hope that the portfolio committee will be thorough and balanced, by integrating the different inputs by the stakeholders that make up TEASA’s community of Evangelical Christians. These inputs should contribute to amendments that build a better and more equitable basic education system in our country.