Parents could face jail time if children aren’t in school

Parents could face jail time if children aren’t in school

Big changes are coming to schools in South Africa.

School room empty

The controversial BELA Bill is one step closer to being processed and implemented in schools across South Africa.

According to Business Tech, the Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill aims to implement many changes in the school system, some of which have caused great controversy.

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The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education Portfolio Committee on Basic Education will be moving on to the next step of processing the Bill.

Here are the proposed changes according to reports:

  • Making Grade R the new compulsory school starting age, as opposed to Grade 1, as is currently the case.
  • Forcing homeschooled learners to be registered for this type of schooling.
  • Criminalising parents who do not ensure their child or children are in school, with fines or jail time up to 12 months.
  • Holding school governing bodies more accountable for disclosures of financial interests – including those related to their spouses and family members.
  • Prohibiting educators from conducting business with the state or being a director of public or private companies conducting business with the state.
  • Abolishing corporal punishment and initiation/hazing practices.
  • Allowing schools to sell alcohol outside of school hours.
  • Giving government department heads power over language policies and the curriculums a school must adopt.

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Giving the government the final say over language policies at schools has especially caused great uproar in the country.

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