ECHSA’s Mission Statement:
ECHSA is a registered NPO. All members of her Executive are volunteers. The Association endeavours to obtain the recognition of society and the protection of the law for the obligation and concomitant right of parents to educate and school their children in every respect.
Our aim is to construct a network, consisting of all the provincial homeschool associations of South Africa, that would become the first line of defence when the Department of Basic Education drafts policies and amends laws, eg the BELA Bill.
Our vision is that this network, the South African Home Education Association (SAHEA), consisting of representatives from provincial associations, would fill the void between the home educator and government.
We thus endeavour to encourage provincial associations to become legal entities, by means of registration as NPO’s, and subsequently to seek representation on, firstly, provincial, then national level, via the South African Home Education Association, when policies and bills are discussed.
We aim to be proactive in our approach to dealing with amendments and policies, instead of waiting for legal action to be taken against home educators and their children after such have been passed in Parliament.
Who does ECHSA represent?:
The Eastern Cape Home Schooling Association (ECHSA) is a representative body for HOMEschoolers in this province. Home education is defined clearly in South African law (see the South African Schools Act of 1996 online) as that education which takes place by a PARENT at the homeschooled child’s OWN HOME.
A cottage school or learning centre that provides the bulk of a child’s education should be registered at the Department of Education as an independent school, otherwise it is illegal and if discovered, there are legal implications for both owners and the parents who send their children there. ECHSA understands the need for cottage schools/learning centres, which is to provide alternative education for a child whose parents cannot themselves homeschool, but we believe they should form their own associations, have their own voice and not try to find legitimacy by seeking to associate with the legal practice of home education.
In accordance herewith, ECHSA cannot represent anyone practising any form of education provision to children within the age-group 7 to 15, which does not comply strictly with this provision of law. We will, however, allow families to be a part of the organization if some of the children in the household are not home educated but are attending schools or a registered learning centre/cottage school (provided we are supplied with the registration document).
What ECHSA is not:
We are not a legal defence fund.
This is where we are different to the Pestalozzi Trust.
The Pestalozzi Trust is a membership organisation, funded almost exclusively by membership fees, that defends its members’ right to alternative education and will therefore consider funding a court action when there is an injured party – a specific member, whose right to home education is directly being infringed upon by an action of the State.
What ECHSA would like to achieve:
To force the DBE to include the South African Home Educator Association in consultation when drawing up policies and bills that aim to regulate home education in South Africa.
We would like to achieve this end in the Eastern Cape firstly, by presenting ourselves to the MEC of the Eastern Cape, as a legal entity representing the interests of the province’s home educators. There has been a history of ineffective consultation between government and home educators in the country, which has resulted in much dissatisfaction. Official, recognized communication structures, we believe, will go a long way to improving this situation. If we are to achieve this, we need you to become a member of ECHSA. Strength in numbers.
The Executive Committee may award membership to any person who subscribes to the provisions of this Constitution. No person will be refused membership on the grounds of religious persuasion, gender, political affiliation or ethnicity.
Membership is a compulsory contribution of R40 per family per month. Please contact us for an application form.
Are you new to homeschooling in South Africa, and looking for more information about it? Not sure if you can take the plunge? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Click here to go to our Contact Us page.