Western Cape Provincial Schools Education Amendment Act
In November 2018 the Western Cape Provincial Legislature passed the Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Act 4 of 2018. It amended the Provincial Act in several material respects, the first of which is by introducing two new types of public schools, called Collaboration Schools, and Donor-Funded Schools.
In addition to this, in terms of this amendment, the Provincial Minister established so-called “intervention facilities” for learners found guilty of serious misconduct.
In July 2019, the Equal Education Law Centre filed papers on behalf of Equal Education in the Western Cape High Court specifically challenging the introduction of these three new institutions into the Western Cape’s basic education landscape.
Collaboration Schools and Donor-Funded Schools
Collaboration Schools and Donor Funded Schools introduce private actors into schools and allows for these actors to hold voting positions, and in some instances a controlling role on the school governing bodies. This fundamentally departs from the public school governance model established under the South Africa Schools Act with parents not being guaranteed the controlling stake in governance within these schools.
The Collaboration School and Donor Funded School provisions in the amendment act are being challenged on the basis that not only are they vague and inconsistent with the Constitution, but they conflict with the South African Schools Act.
The creation of intervention facilities strikes at the heart of access to public schools. These provisions allow children to be taken out of public schools, and referred, for a period of an entire year, to institutions set up solely for wrongdoers who have committed disciplinary infractions and in doing so risk a return to an out-dated mode of delivering residential care to children. The provisions which allow for the creation of intervention facilities not only creates a situation where learners in the Western Cape are subject to prolonged disciplinary interventions but the provisions themselves are overly broad and vague and offer little to no guidance or detail in relation to the establishment and operation of these centres. This results in unreasonable and unjustified limitations on the rights of learners.
The MEC for Education: Western Cape has filed answering papers that EE is now required to respond to.
The matter is provisionally set down for 13-15 October 2020.
Click below to view relevant court papers