On Friday, 28 February, the Dept. of Basic Education hosted a Home Education Round Table Discussion, themed “Home Education in the best interest of the learner”. Love2Learn was privileged to be invited and a part of this discussion.

Various role-players in home education were present, including home educating parents, representatives from home schooling associations, independent curriculum providers as well as Mrs AM Motshekga, MP (Minister of Basic Education, Dr MR Mhaule, MP (Deputy Minister of Basic Education), Dr MT Simelane, Chief Director – Curriculum Implementation and Monitoring; and a number of other DBE representatives.

The key role-players and social partners were invited with a view to strengthening the collaboration between the Department and said players and ensure that the Policy on Home Education is implemented effectively and efficiently.

Mrs Angelina Matsie Motshekga, MP
Minister of Basic Education

Dr Makgabo Mhaule
Deputy Minister of Basic Education

The Round Table Discussion was opened by Dr Makgabo Mhaule, Deputy Minister of Basic Education; and the keynote address “Home Education in the best interest of the learner” was delivered by Mrs Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education.

On a personal note, I was really struck
by the warmth and humbleness of the Minister
as she appealed to all role-players
to agree on “a bottom line –
a minimum base from which to move forward”.

After a number of addresses on various topics related to home education, delegates were given the chance to elect to participate in one of four Commission Breakaway options that dealt with very relevant topics –
1. Right to basic education,
2. Social inclusion,
3. Shared responsibility; and
4. Barriers to learning.

As you can imagine, these were fairly robust but nevertheless valuable; although there was never going to be enough time to work through these issues in any detail.

What these Commissions did do however, was set up a platform for future working groups/task teams to use and build on.

HIGHLIGHTS / COMMENTS:

  • The fact that both the Minister and Deputy Minister of Basic Education were present, speaks volumes as to the recognition and standing that home education has forged in the halls of the DBE.
  • For this, we have to thank the many individuals, associations (including Pestalozzi Trust and the late Leendert van Oostrum) and independent curriculum providers, who have tirelessly persevered over decades, in their quest to have home education – and more specifically home schooling families – acknowledged and appreciated for the standard and quality of education they are delivering daily in their homes.
  • It is imperative that we place the best interests of the child at the centre of every decision we make. ~Dr MT Simelane [For homeschooling families, in theĀ  main, this is already at the centre of their decision to home educate.]

Dr MT Simelane, Chief Director –
Curriculum Implementation and Monitoring

  • The DBE is willing to consider platforms and vehicles for facilitating engagement between Government and homeschoolers. ~Dr MT Simelane
  • Engagement would be in the form of task teams, which would constitute shared resources, to make education better and of quality for our children. ~Dr MT Simelane
  • We can all agree the days of conflict are over and we can look to potential collaboration going forward. ~Dr MT Simelane

Time will be the true tester as to the truth of the above!

Some of the role-players in home education
that attended the Round Table Discussion,
including home educating parents, representatives from home schooling associations and Pestalozzi Trust, independent curriculum providers as well as
Dr MT Simelane and Ms Phindile Ngcobo from DBE.

Let us pray that increased harmony will continue to be built
between the DBE and homeschoolers, because
– as was joked with Dr. Simelane –
“The lessons that the DBE has learned about home education
were not as a result of the homeschooling fraternity
‘taking them to school’,

but rather that we have taken them ‘home'”!