Private schools and governing bodies in ANC cross hairs

The ANC Women’s League wants private schools to teach the same curriculum as South Africa’s public schools, while proposed changes to the education laws aim to take away power from school governing bodies when it comes to hiring staff.

According to a report by the Sunday Times, the League said private schools must not run a “parallel education system”, and cannot be “a preserve of the haves”.

The 538,000 students who attended 1,681 private schools in 2014 paid exorbitant fees, according to the League – fees which excluded most children.

The Women’s League also wants private schools to teach the history of South Africa to its students, and reflect that the country “had apartheid” and had not “even started touching transformation”.

The Independent Schools Association of South Africa said that 95% of its schools already followed the national curriculum, which is approved by Umalusi, and that a large portion of private schools did not charge exorbitant fees.

Governing body powers curbed

Proposed changes to the South African Schools Act and Employment of Educators Act by the Department of Basic Education seek to curb the power of school governing bodies – particularly when it comes to the hiring of staff.

The changes would bar governing bodies from recommending candidates for appointment as heads of department, deputy principals, and principals.

Instead, these appointments will be made by the heads of department of education in each province.

The proposed changes would also see the provincial heads having final authority to admit a child to a school – even though the admission policy is decided upon by the governing body.

The provincial heads will also be allowed to instruct a school to adopt more then one language of instruction, if it was deemed to be in the interests of “promoting social cohesion”.

The full report is available in the Sunday Times – 11 October 2015 edition.

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Private schools and governing bodies in ANC cross hairs