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BELA Bill Passes Despite Falling Short on Dropout Prevention

The Zero Dropout Campaign notes the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) passing the Basic Education Law Amendment (BELA) Bill this morning.

Last Thursday, the NCOP made a hurried attempt to pass this Bill, and in the process almost violated its own procedural requirements. “This piece of legislation will have profound impact on the education sector, and we remain concerned that the Bill’s processing through Parliament was not afforded the necessary time to make the most informed decision possible,” said Zero Dropout Campaign Programme Director Merle Mansfield. “The Bill’s provisions to address and reduce the dropout crisis in South Africa, Clauses 2 and 3, remain problematic and insufficient, respectively,” continued Mansfield.

To rectify this, the Zero Dropout Campaign made recommendations during the National Assembly’s public participation phase (see full press release attached). These comprehensive recommendations were however overlooked.

We are also concerned that the BELA Bill’s passing has happened without consideration of some new pivotal policy changes within the DBE since the BELA process began seven years ago such as the controversial General Education Certificate, which is poised to shift how the DBE addresses issues such as learner retention and dropout,” added Mansfield. 

We will continue to monitor its progress through the Presidency and advocate for robust policies and programmes to supplement the Bill if it becomes law, to ensure a reduction of our national dropout rate,” concluded Mansfield.

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