A controversial change to the Education Amendment Bill, which will allow the sale and consumption of alcohol on school premises or during school functions, has sparked outrage during the public hearing stage.
The proposed changes will mean that applications for the sale and consumption of liquor on school premises will have to be approved by the Head of Department.
Western Cape Education MEC, Debbie Schäfer, explained that the amendments will not be a blanket permission for schools to sell alcohol. The approval will also be subject to any conditions imposed by the Western Cape Liquor Act of 2008.
The Bill is being reviewed before the Western Cape Legislature, and has been opened for comment since March.
Education MECs may establish a School Evaluation Authority, which will evaluate schools independently and set up evaluation reports.
Last week, Schäfer said that the School Evaluation Authority will be piloted over the course of a year.
The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has submitted comments on the proposed changes, saying that the amendment is unlawful and represents a regression in the education system.
“These submissions are made to request the legislature to either amend the provisions of the Draft Amendment Bill or to remove the offending provisions in totality,” Sadtu said to iOL.
The proposed changes also mean that applications for the sale and consumption of liquor on school premises will have to be approved by the Head of Department. The approval will also be subject to any conditions imposed by the Western Cape Liquor Act of 2008.
The proposed Bill amendments have caused controversy among representatives of the WCED since it was first suggested last year. A petition was launched for Parliament to reject the Bill.
During a 2017 standing committee meeting, Schäfer suggested that schools rent out their halls to generate extra revenue streams. She added that this would help schools “act within limits”.
“This permission is subject to any conditions imposed by the Western Cape Liquor Act, 2008, the governing body, principal (in the case of staff functions) and the HOD,” Schäfer said.
If a school is granted permission and does not comply with conditions, the permission can and will be withdrawn.
The Education Amendment Bill is up for public comment in June and August, and will cover all education districts.