Education activist Hendrick Makaneta has applauded the Cabinet for approving the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill, which seeks to release school managers from the accountability of absenteeism and poor attendance of learners.
“Education transformation has been a highly contested terrain of struggle ever since the establishment of the National Commission on Education by the late president Nelson Mandela in 1995. The current bill, which was approved by Cabinet, seeks to amend the South African Schools Act along with the National Education Policy to hold school managers accountable for non-attendance and poor attendance of learners. This will certainly reduce the dropout rates in the schooling system, something which is a cause for great concern,” Makaneta said.
According to the research conducted by the National Income Dynamics Study-Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (Nids-Cram) early this year, South Africa is experiencing the highest dropout rate in 20 years. The pupil dropout rate in the country has tripled to about 750 000 throughout the pandemic.
Makaneta also revealed that the bill seeks to amend section 19 of the SACE Act to reflect the fact that the funds of the South African Council for Educators include the money received from employers for the in-service training of educators in order to give SACE the capacity to promote the training of educators.
In a statement, Makaneta said that the country needed to move very swiftly to increase the levels of legitimacy within leadership structures of schools. “We really need people who are committed to working towards the success of an African child.
“In the end, we must ask the question: Will the amendments advance change or is it just another legislative exercise that flatters and deceives? It is my submission that the current bill should make governance more meaningful and not be just another legislative exercise.”
He said that the State Law Advisers and the Minister must also be applauded for playing a crucial role by ensuring that this Bill is dealt with in accordance with section 76 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
“There is no doubt that transformation is non-negotiable because it is necessary for access, success, diversity, sustainability, equality, excellence, and so on and so forth,“ Makaneta concluded.