ACTION ALERT

a division of Home School Legal Defense Association
January 20, 1999

Home School Freedom Threatened in South Africa

South Africa’s Ministry of Education issued a disastrous new home school policy in December, over the protests of home schoolers and the Pestalozzi Trust (South Africa’s legal defense fund for home education). The policy essentially allows home schooling only when department of education heads deem it to be in the best interests of the child. Under this policy, home education has become little more than an extension of public school education, and parents have become agents of the education departments to be monitored, assessed, and inspected.

A recent newspaper article indicates that the government knew exactly what it was doing (RAPPORT, Afrikaans Sunday newspaper, December 5, 1999):

While the Coalition of Home Schoolers expressed its concern about the [new home education] policy, and accused the government of including as many restrictions as possible in the policy, the Department of Education warned that this is just ‘the beginning of the beginning.’

The new policy will apply in all provinces and should result in a general return to main stream schools. Until now, children could be taught at home in more or less uncontrolled fashion.

The Pestalozzi Trust is prepared for a legal battle, and HSLDA is committed to supporting our fellow home schoolers.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Please pray for God’s protection over these dedicated families and the leaders who are preparing a defense: Pestalozzi Trust board members Leendert van Oostrum, Dr. Hans Visser, Christopher Klicka, and Henri Slabbert and Trust attorney Jan Badenhorst-Schnettler.
  • Also, write or call the Embassy of South Africa at 3051 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20008; telephone (202) 232-4400; fax (202) 265-1607; or e-mail pubaff@southafrica.net. Convey this message: “Home schooling freedom works. Please do not regulate home schooling out of existence. Rescind the new national home school policy.”

In 1993, letters from American home schoolers to this embassy helped gain an early release for Andre and Bokkie Mientjies, sentenced to two years in jail for home schooling. And in 1995, when South African families were working for the right to direct the education of their children, home schoolers in the United States provided support and encouragement through letter-writing campaigns targeting key legislative decisions in Parliament. Our solidarity with South African home schoolers has made a difference and we need to stand with them again.

The Pestalozzi Trust can be reached at defensor@lantic.net, website http://pestalozzi.org .