The chair of parliament’s portfolio committee on basic education has bowed to pressure from opposition MPs and agreed to make staff available to answer questions about how they handled public submissions on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill.

If passed, the bill will change legislation governing schools extensively. It will include a new requirement that provincial heads of education approve schools’ admission and language policies. It will also extend compulsory schooling from grade 1 to grade R, entail tighter oversight of home schooling, and provide for prison terms of up to a year for parents who stop their children attending school. ..

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