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Grade R Could Be Compulsory


According to the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill, compulsory learning will begin in Grade R instead of Grade 1 and if this is not adhered to there could be major consequences for the parents.

Recently, the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill stated that if your child does not attend Grade R, you could be sent to prison for up to 12 months.

The bill proposes that compulsory learning begins in Grade R instead of Grade One.

Mary Metcalfe, an Education Expert from the University of Johannesburg, states that many have been hung up on the word compulsory and have lost the true message in the bill.

Metcalfe clarifies that the bill states that the admission age for Grade R is four years old, however, the compulsory age to start school remains at seven years old.

The Education Expert states that the progressive move to address Early Childhood Development is by ensuring that more children have access to both school-based and community-based Early Childhood Development.

These learners will have the advantage of developing cognitive skills at an early stage which will prepare them for when they start Grade One.

Through ensuring that learners attend Grade R, they are introduced to schooling in a fun environment where they develop social skills as well cognitive skills.

The bill also states that school principals have been given the duty to act on learners who do not attend school for three days, which the Basic Education Department hopes will address the high dropout rate.

However, Metcalfe hopes that the principals won’t limit themselves to these three days, but that they will note the patterns of attendance for each learner and take action to ensure that learners do not drop out of school, especially high school.

Through the use of the South African School Administration Management System monitoring learner attendance is made easier for principals and teachers.

The bill also added that alcohol may be brought onto school premises, however, was misunderstood by the media.

What the bill meant was that alcohol may be brought onto school premises for private functions or fundraising events but not allowed during school hours.


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