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Decoding the BELA Bill: What You Need to Know Now That It’s Approved



BELA Bill has been approved

The BELA Bill has been approved and is undergoing the process of becoming law. After several amendments and debates in the House of Parliament, the National Assembly finally voted for the Bill. According to EWN, 223 members voted for it, while 78 opposed it, sending a clear message of widespread acceptance of those provisions.

In addition, Bill BELA also intends to amend the South African Schools Act and the Act on Employment of Teachers, which will enable the government to address the problems in the education system, such as insecurities in the administration of schools, infrastructure, and conduct of students and teachers. Among its main amendments is Grade R becoming a mandatory starter level for school with punishments for parents not enrolling their children. Likewise, the Bill is explicit in that the students should not be subjected to any punishment that may degrade their dignity.

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The Bill also hands over language policies to school heads, who have authority only after confirmation by the head of the department. Some critics have denigrated the Bill as the “abortion bill,” yet aside from providing protections for the learners’ right to make informed decisions, the same does not override the school teachers’ professional privilege not to interfere with it.

In terms of homeschooling, this law requires parents who want to teach their children full-time at home to register with the head of the department to maintain control and respect a parent’s choice for the curriculum.


The ANC, IFP, and EFF were in support of the Amendment, while the DA, Freedom Front Plus and ACDP, among other opposition parties, expressed reservations and went as far as threatening legal suit. Bill passage puts the ball in the court of President Cyril Ramaphosa. He has to decide between giving consent to the Bill or forwarding it back to parliament for consideration of supplementary recommendations, which marks a turning point in the South Africa education system.

Also read:

NCOP Advances Major Basic Education Reforms with Passage of BELA Bill

Picture: Facebook / Laudium Today

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