Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

BELA Bill must change schools’ culture – Motshekga confirms what FF Plus has been saying all along

During previous discussions of the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (“BELA Bill”), the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, claimed that it is only aimed at bringing South African legislation in line with international norms.

Today during an oral question-and-answer session, however, she said that the law is necessary to allow government to step in and change schools' language policy and educational culture.

In a follow-up question, the FF Plus wanted to know whether her reply does not violate the agreement of 1994.

According to the party, the agreement is founded on the premise that school communities could retain their schools and manage them by means of school governing bodies.

Not all school communities are geographically demarcated, but they do still receive strong support from their respective communities.

Minister Motshekga responded by saying that the law in question is needed precisely because it will force schools to change their nature.

According to her, many population shifts have taken place since 1994 and government cannot allow an Afrikaans school to exclude children living in its vicinity just because the area used to be an Afrikaans residential area many decades ago.

She made it very clear that government must have the power to intervene.

In reality, though, more than half of all Afrikaans schools have become double medium or English single medium since 1994.

The impression that there are half-empty Afrikaans schools that refuse to make facilitates available to children residing in the immediate vicinity is false.

What can, however, be said is that Afrikaans school communities make extraordinary sacrifices to ensure that a high level of education is maintained in their schools. And that includes the requirement that schools must be full.

Thus far, the FF Plus has opposed the Bill on these very grounds, but also because it is outdated before it has even been promulgated.

The Bill was announced in 2016, but since then, lockdown has completely changed the face of education forever.

The boundaries between traditional schools and online education have become blurred and as a result, education now occurs in ways that the Bill does not take into account.

The public participation process that the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education launched must still go to districts to gather oral input. And then it must be adopted by provincial legislatures.

The FF Plus will oppose this Bill in every possible legislative assembly and on every possible public platform.



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