Meetings between homeschoolers & government
The discussions have continued in the same positive spirit as the first day. From the side of the homeschoolers, Bouwe van der Eems and Marie Kuhlmann gave a presentation on "What do homeschoolers from the state?". After this there were a number of presentations on open learning and assesment.
The last speaker was Dr. Trevor Coombe from the Department of Basic Education (DBE). He gave an overview of the main points that have emerged from discussions and explained the way forward. The next step will be the updating of the Discussion Document, with the inputs from these meetings. This document will be reviewed with stakeholders again, before it is presented to the minister.
There is general agreement that more research is required in order to get a better understanding of home education in South Africa. There is also agreement that much more time is required for consultation by DBE before a new policy can be drafted.
Dr Coombe concluded that the homeschool community should be optimistic that the result of this process will result in a better regulatory framework than the previous one. However he cautioned against a naive optimism that the end result will exactly what the homeschool community wants.
The last point on the agenda was the appointment of a DBE / Home Education Liaison Committee. The meeting was closed however without appointing such a committee.
Afterwards Leendert van Oostrum commented that these meetings were by far the best meetings between homeschoolers and the state ever. However, that does not necessarily mean that the end result of this process will be better than in the past.
Whatever the end result is, all homeschool representatives were of the opinion that the meetings between DBE and homeschoolers were constructive. Homeschool representatives received many messages from parents informing them that there are lots of homeschooling parents that have been praying for these meetings. This support from parents has been highly appreciated and God should be praised for the good things that have happened these two days.
The photo below shows the homeschooling representative (Left to Right) : Linda & Johan Heckroodt (CHE), Andre Williams (Pestalozzi Trust), Bouwe vd Eems (AHS), Marie Kulhman (ECHSA), Leendert van Oostrum (Pestalozzi Trust), Elize vd Merwe (KZN), Niell Bester & daughter (GHSA) and Shaun Green (AHS).