On 14 July 2018 the Pestalozzi Trust heard that that the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) was to meet the following week and that the Draft Policy on Home Education was on the agenda.
The Trust urged homeschoolers to email the DBE and ask for this to be postponed:
“We require this opportunity because despite requests made over a month ago the
Department of Basic Education has not shared any information concerning the details of changes to the draft Policy. Without this information we are being deprived our democratic right to consult with our government in a meaningful fashion.”
Although hundreds emails were sent and home educators also called in to make their requests, the pleas were ignored and the policy remained on the agenda.
On 23 July 2018, ACDP Member of Parliament, Cheryllyn Dudley also asked the DBE for answers to some pertinent questions about this matter.
On 30 July 2018 the Department of Basic Education (DBE) published a press release announcing that the amended draft policy on home education had been approved for promulgation by the Minister.
The full press release can be read online at this link:
Co-incidentally, on the same day, the Pestalozzi Trust published a press release at the link below:
It stated that,
“Secrecy was the order of the day
Not only was the DBE unwilling to release the final version of the Policy to the public, it was
not even willing to divulge to those parents who called in whether a CEM meeting would take
place, or whether home education was on the agenda.”
Adv Megan Puchert of the Eastern Cape Home School Association was quoted saying:
“It seems as though the cart was placed before the horse. Changes to
the SA Schools Act are still being debated and discussed, whereas several of these
proposed changes have been incorporated into the Policy through a back door.”
Further, Chairman of the Trust, Bouwe van der Eems added that:
“A policy based on a flawed public participation process will merely
increase conflict. A policy based on a law that does not yet exist will cause chaos.”
On 31 July, the ACDP published the following statement on their Facebook page in support of the home education movement’s cause:
ACDP labels Home Education Policy ‘unworkable in practice’
The ACDP has come out in support of the Home Education community and shares many of their concerns which include among other things, that home education under the current act is treated as a form of independent education and that aspects of the draft policy are measures appropriate to public education.
ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley today said that “the ACDP is of the opinion that the policy is unworkable in practice. Under-resourced provincial education departments will not be able to cope with the administrative burden of the policy, and significant additional costs will be placed on home educating families”.
The Media Published the DBE Press Release
30 July – The Sowetan – New home-schooling policy set to be implemented
1 August – Cape Times – Controversial policy on homeschooling to become law
3 August – Daily Dispatch – DBE moves on home schooling
3 August – Business Day published a letter from a home educator – Home Educators Ignored
In response to the press release by the DBE, a number of South African radio stations interviewed various home education representatives
1 August 2018, RSG interviewed a spokesperson from the DBE, Troy Maartens and then asked Bouwe van der Eems of the Pestalozzi Trust to respond.
Below is a link to the podcast
Adv Megan Puchert made some very clear comments about the policy. She highlighted that she was being asked to respond to a policy that she had not yet seen as it had not yet been published or promulgated yet. She discussed many of the concerns that home educators have with the guidelines for monitoring and controlling home educating families.
Bouwe Van Der Eems, Chairperson of the Pestalozzi Trust, was asked for comments by on Vuma FM. These were aired during their news bulletin at 14h00. In a extremely short clip he was quoted saying that the public needs to be made aware of the benefits of home education and that the DBE does not seem to have sufficient knowledge of home education in South Africa to be able formulate and effective policy.
Cape Talk – The John Maythem Show
At 16h10 Shirley Erwee was grilled with some challenging questions about the need to monitor and regulate home educators on the John Maythem show. Here is a link to the recording.
3 August – Adv. Megan Puchert, Chairperson of the Eastern Cape Homeschooling Association, was interviewed on SAFM