Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill would amend the South African Schools Act of 1996

Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill would amend the South African Schools Act of 1996

The Department of Basic Education has published an explanation of its Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill, which will be published for public comment shortly.

This bill introduces several new regulations around schools in South Africa, including new measures to hold principals, parents, and governing bodies accountable for non-attendance.

Other proposals concern language changes, codes of conduct, and governing bodies.

Among the most significant proposed changes are:

  • School attendance is now mandatory from grade R onwards. Parents, schools, governing bodies, etc., who prevent a child from attending school without just cause are guilty of an offence and could be fined or imprisoned.

  • The bill will give government department heads more control over the language policies and curriculums schools must adopt. When possible, the head of department may direct a public school to use more than one language of instruction. It also recognises South African Sign Language as an official language to be taught in public schools.

  • As part of the code of conduct, a public school must take into account the diverse cultural beliefs, religious observances, and medical circumstances of its students. There must also be an exemption clause in the code of conduct, and disciplinary proceedings must be handled in a way that is age-appropriate and in the learner’s best interests.

  • Drugs and alcohol: The bill will update the provisions relating to the possession of drugs on school premises or during school activities, and provide for conditions under which liquor can be possessed, sold or consumed on school premises or during school activities.
  • During school activities and at hostels that accommodate school learners, the bill prohibits corporal punishment and initiation practices.

Source: Business Tech, News24

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