More than 100,000 South Africans have objected to new proposals which will affect school governing bodies in the country.
According to a report by Rapport, trade union Solidarity handed in over almost 100,000 objections to the bill, while over 76,000 people objected through the website Go Petition.
“We are totally bowled over by the reaction,” said Paul Colditz of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas).
“There has never been so much resistance to any proposed legislative amendment since the Schools Act was promulgated in 1997,” he said.
He said that many parents were already threatening to withdraw the R15 billion they contribute in school fees by taking their children to private schools.
A number of changes have been mooted pertaining to school’s governing bodies, including how they must be elected, who may be elected, budgets, and what powers the HOD (head of department) has.
These changes have been made to prevent any abuses of the governing body system and prevent any members from using it as a “get rich quick” scheme, the amendment states.
It also confirms that governing body members may not be paid for their time, outside of legitimate reimbursements.
Other powers that will now be given to the HOD include:
- The final authority to admit a learner to a public school.
- The school’s language policy and the power to direct a public school to adopt more than one language of instruction.
- What children are learning (including the procurement of study materials).