ActionSA is also hacking Bela Act

Henry

ActionSA has submitted its objection to the controversial Bela law to parliament, saying it is a “defective legislative attempt” to cover up the structural shortcomings of the country’s education system, which stem from years of mismanagement.

Angela Sobey, a member of ActionSA’s senate, says quality education is one of the founding principles of the party and that the bill fails to fundamentally correct the existing problems in the education sector. The bill is incoherent and does not reflect the real needs and realities of the education landscape.

“Quality education remains one of the ways to enable someone to improve their life, but the Bela Act is in all likelihood not going to achieve that goal,” says Sobey.

Its intentions are possibly noble, but the bill is ultimately a “power grab” by the minister of basic education who will, among other things, get the power to determine a school’s language policy, regardless of what the school’s governing body decides. Sobey says it will also limit parents’ ability to decide on home education.

Another source of concern is mandatory gr. R for all learners, but without a clear understanding of what the curriculum will entail, or how it will be afforded.

ActionSA is also opposed to a proposal to lift a broad ban on the sale of alcohol at schools, as contained in the bill. Sobey says the party welcomes the extension of fines that can be imposed on those who disrupt schools, but that the right to a peaceful demonstration must still be protected.

“We are resolute in our commitment to repair South Africa’s failing education system. It is a system where 80% of public schools are considered dysfunctional, where eight out of ten South African schoolchildren struggle to read with understanding by the age of ten, and 40% of gr. 11 learners drop out. We believe a comprehensive and surgical approach is needed to solve these deep-rooted problems in the system.”

The party says the starting point for this is to get rid of the ruling ANC at the ballot box and break the stranglehold of some trade unions.

ActionSA also proposes that school inspectors be reintroduced who can independently ensure that quality education is provided. Teacher training and support must be improved, especially at centers for early childhood development and reform must be introduced so that learners by gr. 4 can read properly.