Newsletter 132 - New Changes for South African Schools
PLANNING NEW SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOL POLICY
The National Minister for DBE published the latest plans for change of the South African School System. The draft bill has been consulted with stakeholders and is now open for public comments. Parliament will most likely deal with the amendments during 2017. After comments the Minister will make changes and published the intended policy as a bill. The portfolio committee may also decide on public hearings and debate before the National Assembly passes the legislation onto statute. The President then signs it into law. This may all very well take another 06-12 months. Thereafter the real work begins. The Minister must make regulations and the Provincial Education Departments must prepare systems and procedures for policy implementation – this is most likely to happen in 2019.
Here is a summary of the proposed changes;
Extended definition of “benefit in kind” as unauthorized remuneration to include (a) exclusive private usage or ownership of a vehicle; (b) free accommodation; (c) free phone, including cellphone (d) free holiday (e) groceries to the benefit of the employee or (f) garden services
A parent who keeps a child from school is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six [months] years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment
The Head of Department has the final authority to admit a learner to a public school. The governing body must submit the admission policy of a public school and any amendment thereof to the Head of Department for approval considering;
(i) The best interests of the child, with emphasis on equality, as provided for in section 9 of the Constitution, and equity;
(ii) accessibility to a school within the community by learners;
(iii) the available resources of the school; and
(iv) the space available at the school for learners; and
(e) the governing body must review the admission policy determined in terms of this section every three years or whenever the factors referred to in paragraph
(d) have changed, when circumstances so require
The governing body of a public school may, determine the language policy of the school subject to the Constitution, this Act and any applicable provincial law." The governing body must submit the language policy of a public school and any amendment thereof to the Head of Department for approval, must be satisfied that the policy or the amendment thereof takes into account the language needs, in general, of the broader community in which the public school is located, and must take into account the following factors,
(a) The best interests of the child with emphasis on equality and equity;
(b) the dwindling number of learners who speak the language of learning and teaching at, the public school; and
(c) the need for effective use of classroom space and resources of the public school.
School code of conduct must be aimed at establishing a disciplined and purposeful school environment, dedicated to the improvement and maintenance of the quality of the learning process, taking into account the diverse cultural beliefs and religious observances of the learners at the school. Code must include an exemption provision.
A governing body member must declare a direct or indirect personal interest that the member or any of his or her family members has in the procurement of goods and services for the public school. A governing body member must withdraw and recuse him or herself from a meeting of the governing body for the duration of the discussion and decision
Any significant or substantial deviation from the initial approved budget must be presented to a general meeting of parents convened specifically for that purpose, on at least 30 days' notice, for consideration and approval by a majority of parents present and voting. A quorum of 15 % of parents is required for the general meetings
A governing body must submit to the Head of Department -
(a) within 30 days after the end of each quarter, a copy of the quarterly report on all income and expenditure in accordance with directives issued by the Head of Department; and
(b) within six months after the end of each financial year, a copy of the annual financial statements, audited or examined in terms of this section.",
A parent of a learner who is of compulsory school going age may apply to the Head of Department for the registration of the learner to receive home education
(i) provided that suitable educational resources available to support the learner's learning;
(ii) monitor the learner's learning;
(iii)arrange for the learner's educational attainment to be assessed annually by a competent assessor, approved by the Head of Department, at the parent's own expense who will apply a standard that is not inferior to the standard expected in a public school according to the learner's age, grade level and ability and
(iv) provide the Head of Department with the learner's assessment report signed by the competent assessor.
A parent of a learner who wishes to continue with home education after the learner has completed grade 9, must make use of the services of a private or independent service provider, accredited by Umalusi, established in terms of section 4 of the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act
In the event of any dispute between the Head of Department and a governing body, the parties must meaningfully engage each other to resolve the dispute. In attempting to resolve a dispute, the following steps must be taken:
(a) The aggrieved party must give the other party written notice of the dispute; and (such notice must include a description of the issues involved in the dispute and a proposed resolution thereof. If the dispute has not been resolved within 14 days after the issuing of the written notice contemplated in subsection, each party must nominate a representative and those representatives must meet within 14 days after their nomination in order to resolve the dispute.
Educators on post levels 2 to 4, will be appointed directly by the Head of Department
Minister to determines norms and standards staffing at District Offices
An educator may not conduct business with the State; or be a director of a public or private company conducting business with the State. An educator must, in the prescribed manner, disclose to the relevant Head of Department all his or her financial interests and the financial interests of his or her spouse and a person living with that person as if they were married to each other, including all shares and other financial interests in an entity;
(e) gifts above the prescribed value, other than gifts received from a family member;
(d) benefits; and
[e) immovable property
Subsidy to Independent School is conditional to submitting quarterly financial reports and audited financial statement
A few other changes include (a) prohibition of alcohol (b) conduct investigation into school finances (c) liability of the state in cases of default.