Budget cuts show Bela ‘undesirable, unfeasible’

Henry

AfriForum is more certain than ever that the amendment bill on Basic Education Acts (Bela) is not only undesirable but also unworkable.

Alana Bailey, AfriForum’s head of cultural affairs, says the budget cuts that the Western Cape Department of Education is currently undertaking are indicative of this.

The country’s financial and fiscal commission indicated in a presentation to the Western Cape legislature in March this year that an additional budget of around R17.7 billion will be needed to implement the provisions of the bill.

“While the country’s education budget is being cut to such an extent that emergency measures such as the termination of education contracts are being taken, it is inconceivable that this additional burden can be placed on the budget,” says Bailey.

According to Bailey, a shrinking education budget will oblige public schools to work even more closely with their learners’ parents and communities. “Currently, parents and communities support their schools because they are an active part of their management and operations through the democratically elected governing bodies.

“If, however, their final say on, among other things, schools’ admission and language policy must rest in the hands of provincial heads of education from now on, as the bill suggests, this precious relationship could crumble.

“This will increase the financial burden on schools, says Bailey. “It is clear that the bill does not seek to promote this wholesome relationship, but only focuses on expanding the power of officials. All this happens at the expense of the future of our youth.”

AfriForum is now once again calling on the National Council of Provinces (NRP) to reject the bill.