28 February 2020
THEME: HOME EDUCATION IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE LEARNER
Key objectives of the Round-table Discussions on Home Education:
- Create an opportunity to share with stakeholders the strategic direction of the government and the sector.
- Contribute to the development and implementation of the strategy and a sector plan on home education
- Engage role-players in a robust discussion around the respective roles and responsibilities of the parent and the state concerning a child’s education.
- Co-ordinate efforts on policy implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. Create a home educators’ network in order to share experience and expertise for efficiency and cost-effectiveness; and Strengthen collaboration amongst parents, departments, institutions, independent curriculum providers, and other role players in home education.
The Outcomes of the Round-table Discussions on Home Education:
- The strategic direction of government and the sector has been shared with stakeholders.
- The contribution to the development and implementation of the strategy and a sector plan on home education is made.
- Role-players are engaged in a robust discussion around the respective roles and responsibilities of the parent and the state concerning a child’s education.
- An effort has been made to coordinate efforts on policy implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
- A platform of home educators’ network has been created to share experience and expertise for efficiency and cost-effectiveness; and Collaboration is strengthened amongst parents, departments, institutions, independent curriculum providers, and other role players in home education.
On the 28th of February 2020, the Department of Basic Education hosted a Home Education Roundtable Discussion at their conference center In Pretoria. The theme of the roundtable was “Home education in the best interest of the learner.”
Doctor Mhaule, the Deputy Minister for Basic Education, was the program director and the keynote address was presented by the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs. Motshekga.
The Deputy Minister presented some opening remarks that related to the Policy review that commenced in 1999 and was subsequently promulgated in 2018. She then further discussed advances in the development of an electronic system to aid learner registration and further developments in studies done in 2016 on visible schooling. She also noted that there were numerous emails and calls from home educators and home education institutions that reflected children within home education.
The Deputy Minister conveyed that there needs to be more public, private and home educators’ engagements
She handed over to the Minister of Basic Education Mrs. Motshekga who did the keynote address.
The Minister reflected on the Bela Bill which will be presented on the 3rd of March 2020 to Parliament and further reiterated that there will be public hearings and she invited all present to attend theses session to ensure that all inputs are captured. She reiterated these sessions will be held after the paper had been presented to parliament. She also stressed the importance of developing a formal representative relationship between the department of basic education and home education associations.
The minister informed the meeting that she has no idea how she and her department can address the issue regarding the registration of home educators, as statistics South Africa showed that there are about 34,000 home educators versus 1500 registered home educators.
She mentioned the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”. This was referring to the fact that the education of a child is an inclusive event that we can all contribute to. The minister further said that due to the limited staff and resources of the department, they cannot constantly reinvent the wheel to evaluate each application, so she requested that all participants at the round table work together to set out the minimum requirements for registration, curriculum, and assessments.
The minister said that we must decriminalize Home Education and we need to address the issue of educational neglect. They cannot make a distinction between actual educational neglect and whether the children are being home educated if there is no registration. They also need the gauge the level of education of each child to ensure that they receive a basic education, thus they need a monitoring process.
She mentioned the case of a father that locked his three kids up in a basement and abused them over a period of six years. They homeschooled these children. She said that we need to draw a line between child abuse and actual homeschooling.
Legislation must not be a bullying tactic and she’s not interested in doing that, but there must be a place where the buck stops for the responsibility of each child’s education.
Because of the lack of resources, she said that she would rather send her inspectors to a school of 2000 to address critical issues there than to send their inspector to one homeschool family for the home inspection. She mentioned an incident when she sent inspectors to a home in Springbok. They had to drive from Kimberley to Springbok and when they arrived, the family was not there! It is a waste of resources and time.
The Minister reiterated that the Department requires thorough deliberation resolve the issue of minimum requirements for the registration of home educators, monitoring of performance and curriculum and that it must be done collectively between DBE, associations, and stakeholders.
The minister brought her keynote address to a close by reiterating the fact that the Bella Bill will be presented to Parliament on the 3rd of March 2020 and that inputs from home educators are required to be in before Monday the 2nd of March 2020.
After the keynote address from the Minister the Program Director allowed for presentations from various stakeholders. Mrs. S Breytenbach presented on “Best Practice in Home Education”. She is a Home Educating grandmother and presented how she successfully implemented a CAPS home education system and discussed the issues and working relationship between herself and the Department of Basic Education. She discussed how through open discussion they resolved her schooling issues. The home educators reiterated the fact that there are more than 300 curriculums available to the home educator and that her experience is not the only best practice model.
After Mrs. S Breytenbach both Professor R Niemann (IMPAK) and Dr. MT Simelane (Chief Director, Curriculum Implementation and Monitoring at DBE) presented a presentation on Curriculum providers redefining the home education landscape and quality curriculum implementation and monitoring in Home Education.
After that presentation, the commissions were called to discuss the issues pertinent to home education. Herewith the feedback from the commissions as compiled in PowerPoint slides that were shown during the feedback sessions:
|Commission 1: Strengthening advocacy and registration of home education learners|
|Commission 2: Curriculum implementation, monitoring and evaluation in home education|
|Commission 2: Curriculum implementation, monitoring, and evaluation in home education|
|Commission 3: Assessment, recording and reporting learner performance|
Commission 4: Facilitating access to, mobility and progression within institutions of learning
Commission 4 did not present a presentation but reiterated the issue of advocacy in ensuring relations between DBE and Home Educators.
Dr. Simelane excused the Minister and Deputy Minister as they had to attend a meeting to discuss the reduction of the Infrastructure Budget. In closing, he said that the rights to Education are contained in section 29 of the South African Constitution. In terms of section 29, everyone has the right to basic education, including adult basic education;  and to further education….The DBE and the Associations should place the child in the center of all deliberations and decisions.
- The Directives from the Minister to identify minimum requirements for Home Education Registration, Curriculum and the monitoring of the performance of student must be addressed and completed
- Recommendations from the commissions and plenary sessions have been noted and will be used.
- To develop a Terms of Reference for all the Task Teams
- Establishing Task Teams for each of the commissions with a plan of action and accountability towards Associations
- Associations to be members of the task teams and the decision-making process
- Task Team resources to be shared
- To develop a strong governance structure including the Associations from all the Provinces