15 May 2022

Tracking the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill in Parliament


The Basic Education Laws Amendment (BELA) Bill [B2-2022] was introduced in Parliament on 10 January 2022. 

You can track its processing here

The Bill amends the South African Schools Act and Employment of Educators Act. It seeks to introduce new regulations around schools in South Africa, most notably in relation to compulsory schooling from Grade R, language policies and curriculums, and prohibition of corporal punishment and initiation practices, to mention a few. 

In October 2017, a draft BELA Bill was published for public comment. The Department subsequently received more than 5,000 written submissions from stakeholders and the general public.

Upon completion of the consultative processes, Cabinet approved that the BELA Bill be introduced in Parliament on 24 November 2021. 

On 15 February 2022, the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education mapped the way forward regarding the process it will likely follow to ensure thorough public engagement. The Committee agreed to provide a month for written public comment on the Bill, after which it will engage in public hearings.

On 24 April 2023, the Portfolio Committee resolved to resume the public hearings on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill in the remaining provinces. Early into the year, the committee had taken a decision to pause the hearings in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal to address some internal operational challenges that had "the potential to compromise the integrity of this critical process." Read more

On 08 August 2023, the Portfolio Committee released a National Public Hearings Report. The report provides a consolidation of progress undertaken regarding the processing of the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill. It precedes by highlighting the main issues raised during the public participation process i.e., the public hearings, and cites key issues from the oral submissions held in Parliament. The report also provides a summary of key issues raised, clause-by-clause analysis, and recommendations made regarding the written submission’s comments by the public on the BELA Bill. Read more.  

On 26 September 2023, the Bill was adopted by the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education. Some of the proposals that were adopted in the Bill include making Grade R the new compulsory school-starting age, penalties for parents who do not ensure that their children are in school, and confirmation that corporal punishment is no longer allowed at schools - with penalties for those found guilty of such offences. Read the Committee Report here

On 26 October 2023, the Bill was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the NCOP for concurrence. 

The Bill is currently being processed by the NCOP's Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture



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People's Assembly

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