BELA Bill: What we know so far

Here are some of the main points which will be discussed when the department of basic education meets stakeholders this week.

The department of basic education’s (DBE) minister, Angie Motshekga, is meant to meet this week with relevant stakeholders regarding the proposed Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill. This Bill will be rolled out in conjunction with the introduction of a two-year compulsory Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme before starting Grade 1.

What is the BELA Bill?

The DBE proposed a new bill n 2017 which mends the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act No. 84 of 1996), and the Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act No. 76 of 1898) (the SASA and the EEA, respectively), so as to align them with developments in the education landscape and to ensure that systems of learning and excellence in education are put in place in a manner which respects, protects, promotes and fulfils the right to basic education enshrined in section 29(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

The Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (BELA) in a nutshell will look at the following:

Who does the BELA Bill Affect?


  • The homeschooling registration process: Parents who choose to homeschool their children will be required to register provincially with the department of basic education as only 1,500 homes are registered while 100,000 learners are believed to be home schooled.
  • The Bill proposes jail time for parents who do not register and the DBE following the right to basic education enshrined in the Constitution. This is to ensure the same standard of learning across the board for all learners whether they are homeschooled or attend traditional schooling.
  • The BELA Bill requests that parents who choose the home education route should make use of independent service providers from Grades 10 to 12 to ensure that learners can obtain credible results for their school-based assessments and are able to obtain the National Senior Certificate (NSC) meaning that the standard of education with homeschooling is the same with pupils who attend regular schooling.
  • Parents will still be allowed to select their own learning materials as long as it falls inline with the DBE’s framework.

School Governing Bodies (SGBs)

  • The proposed bill looks at the appointments made by schools’ governing bodies focusing on the appointments of teachers and parents in these governing bodies and the length of time these appointments are held for. It will also outline the way in which school governing bodies operates their finances
  • The bill may also allow investigations to be launched into SGBs to stamp out corruption
  • The bill also alludes to reevaluating how code of conducts are derived

Language Policies

  • The bill proposes that schools submit their language policies to monitor the language of instruction used to teach learners

Admissions into schools

  • The head of the department will have the final say when it comes to which public schools pupils are placed at
  • The Bill will also look into the current admissions system to place learners at school

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Angie Motshekga family Primary Schooler

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