8 out of 9 provinces’ support for BELA proves disregard for public interests – AfriForum

According to AfriForum, the fact that eight out of the country’s nine provinces support the current version of the controversial Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (better known as the BELA Bill) proves that public interests and inputs are disregarded, while the provincial authorities focus solely on their own interests and expansion of authority. The provinces announced this indication of support by means of mandates at the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture.

Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s Head of Cultural Affairs, states, with reference to the public consultation sessions on the Bill that have taken place nationwide over the past three months, that organisations and individuals turned up in large numbers and showed opposition to provisions of the Bill with well-grounded arguments. According to her, some of the organisations, including AfriForum, emphasised that, based on senior legal opinions, they will take legal action if the current version of the Bill is accepted and implemented.

“Clearly, eight out of the nine provinces’ authorities are neither interested in the well-founded objections of the public, nor the risk of expensive legal processes. They also pay no attention to the dangers the Bill poses to the development of quality education in the country. On the eve of the election, their focus is only on expanding their authority and appeasing the huge number of parents who are dissatisfied with the poor education their children are receiving with a bill which will only exacerbate the situation,” Bailey says.

The fact that the final decision-making powers regarding schools’ placement and language policies will henceforth rest with the provincial heads of education is especially unacceptable to AfriForum. “This step will disempower governing bodies. Those who know best what is in their school community’s interests will become mere rubber stamps, subordinate to the decisions of the dysfunctional education authorities in their provinces.” “We know that these very eight provinces are constantly exerting pressure on schools’ governing bodies to take in more children and to convert single-medium Afrikaans schools to dual- or parallel-medium institutions. That the current pressure will become mandates with the adoption of BELA is going to be disastrous for the future of education in the country. AfriForum views the Bill as a direct attack against quality education and especially the Afrikaans community. We will therefore oppose it with legal action locally, and if necessary, internationally,” she emphasises.

Similar Posts