The position of Accelerated Education Enterprises regarding education laws and policies in South Africa, May 2016
It is the vision and passion of Accelerated Education Enterprises (AEE) to carry out the great commission given to us by our Lord in Matthew 28:19 and see as many lives as possible impacted for Christ through the vehicle of Christian education.
It is our firm belief that this mandate must be pursued within the boundaries of the relevant legislation and statutes enacted in South Africa. AEE will always advise all customers using, or intending to use the AEE product offering, to act within the provisions of the law. It is our commitment to act reasonably and ethically at all times in the best interests of our members. We further commit ourselves to the provision of quality Christian education services for all our customers within the parameters of the statutes of our country and in accordance with Christian values and a Biblical worldview.
AEE does not support any opinion that suggests defiance of the law and policies that the government has promulgated. While we may disagree with some of the policies, process and method of implementation, we do acknowledge, whether directly or indirectly, their good intention to guide and direct education provision in our country.
In keeping with the above, AEE subscribes to the following position regarding home education and independent schooling:
A. HOME EDUCATION
Home education is a legalised alternative method of providing education for one’s child or children in South Africa. According to Section 51 of the South African Schools Act of 1996, "A parent may apply to the Head of Department for the registration of a learner to receive education at the learner’s home". As such the law does not make provision for multiple families to be home-schooled together at the same venue (also referred to as “cluster schooling”), as this must then be categorised as a school. Such an entity will need to be registered with the relevant provincial education department to operate legally (see Section B below). In view of the above, AEE would like to recommend that home-school customers do not participate in this practice. AEE will not be able to intervene in any way on behalf of such a family or families should they be prosecuted by the relevant authorities for contravening the law.
However parents who work could employ a full-time tutor to educate their child(ren) at home and notify the provincial education department (PED) accordingly.
Section 3 of the SA Schools Act stipulates that the compulsory school-going age is between 7 and 15 years or the ninth grade, whichever occurs first. Parents of learners in this age group must therefore by law apply to the relevant PED to register them for home-schooling. Registering with the PED is the responsibility of the individual parent(s), who must sign an agreement with AEE acknowledging their responsibility to make application to register with the relevant authorities in accordance with the SA Schools Act of 1996.
Please Note: Choosing not to register with the PED will not prevent registration with AEE.
b. INDEPENDENT SCHOOLING
All schools providing education to learners in Gr 1-9 or Gr 1-12 must be registered with the relevant provincial education department as stated in the SA Schools Act of 1996. Section 46 of the Act explicitly states that "No person may establish or maintain an independent school unless it is registered by the Head of Department."
AEE does not support the provision of education to learners of compulsory school-going age (7-15 years) outside the context of a registered independent school (or a school that has at least made application to be registered), apart from home-schooling as stated in Section A above. Unlike home education where parents educate and take responsibility for their own children, schools provide education to children from various families who entrust the school with the educational role. Operating an unregistered school places the education of the enrolled children at potential risk. Membership of the AEE Association is not open to unregistered schools as it would compromise our credibility and integrity as a Christian organisation. This would also expose AEE to reputational damage in the event of inferior educational standards or legal action being taken against the school. These schools may still register as Partial users of the A.C.E. curriculum.
AEE does not condone acts of administrative injustice or unlawful requirements placed on home-school parents or independent schools by government officials. In cases of harassment, unlawful demands/requirements/conduct and administrative injustice by government officials towards our member schools, AEE will seek for such matters to be addressed professionally and appropriately to find a solution. We believe in constructive engagement with the relevant authorities to overcome challenges in our education system for the betterment of education provision in our country.
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