Why did the Department of Basic Education even bother to ask for public participation when it never intended to amend the policy on home education in line with valuable input received from home educators?
The public was given 21 days to comment on the policy, and this right off the back of the controversial Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill. Just how seriously did they take the process?
On June 5 the department stated: "A final policy for home education has incorporated progressive comment and is being prepared for tabling and for promulgation."
What does "progressive" mean? Does it mean that from the 800 comments received they only incorporated those that align with their predetermined outcome? And why are they not willing to share the revised policy with us? From the outset in 2014 it was clear the department’s objective was to treat home education as public education. They do not understand the nature of home education. Home educating parents responded to a shortcoming in public education and opted to act in the best interests of their children, but they are now being punished for it.
The policy does not allow for self-directed learning or for compiling one’s own curriculum using the excellent resources available both locally and internationally. It places unfair restrictions on home educators such as that a demarcated (separate) area should be used as a classroom. It is clearly intended to force parents to use the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (Caps) curriculum or enrol their children in school.
Home education representatives repeatedly requested a copy of the revised policy from the department but these requests were ignored. Again, the question can be asked whether the government has acted in good faith throughout this process as there is certainly a reluctance to act in a fair and transparent way.