The civil rights organisation AfriForum today submitted in-depth commentary on the proposed amendments to the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No 84 of 1996). The Amendment Bill aims to significantly limit the managerial powers of school governing bodies.
Schools that will be impacted most by the Bill are in fact those schools that currently offer the best quality of education and enjoy parent community involvement – whatever the socio-economic situation of the community.
“The Bill does contain positive conditions, such as stricter control over alcohol use on school grounds and the limitation of governing body and personnel interests to prevent illegal business practices. AfriForum is however of the opinion that the abuses committed at some schools are now used as an excuse to increasingly strip school communities of their powers and centralise this power in the hands of Government. The proposed Bill will also influence schools’ ability to host events to raise funds – something schools are very dependent on,” says Carien Bloem, Project Coordinator for Education at AfriForum.
AfriForum’s commentary is based on the complete extent of rulings by the Constitutional Court in this regard, and not only selective parts of these rulings, as is the case with the Bill. AfriForum’s commentary clearly shows that many of the proposals in the Bill are the result of the current poor performance and maladministration of the Department of Education – and not the result of deficiencies in current legislation.
“The Bill is therefore mostly unnecessary. The Department should in many cases rather fulfil its duties by offering more functional schools to the thousands of learners who do not have access to schools and quality education, for example.”
AfriForum’s commentary probes deeply and contains many specific proposals and criticism with a view to institute legal action if these comments are ignored.
Parents, teachers and members of the public are welcome to support AfriForum in its effort by donating R10 – simply send an SMS with your name and the word “Skolewet” to 38313.