Home education and the rights of parents and families to choose their child’s curriculum will come under the spotlight when delegates from countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, the USA, Canada and Russia gather in Pretoria for the African Home Education Indaba.
Homeschooling in SA
Home education in South Africa has experienced significant growth over the last few years. At the end of 2018 there were an estimated 100,000 home education learners in the country.
"Several factors have driven the growth of home education as an alternative option, ranging from increasingly sophisticated distance e-learning technology to an ever-growing network of tutors. Because it’s based on individual needs, home education can provide a safe space for children who may have find the traditional schooling environment challenging," says says Coleen Cronje, CEO of Brainline.
"Home educators in South Africa and across the continent are constantly in a battle with government infringement upon family and parental rights when it comes to home education, despite this sector being one of the fastest growing platforms within the educational sphere. The Indaba will specifically discuss the advancement of the African home education community and its rights to home education."
Brainline, having provided structures home education on a distance education model to thousands of learners since 1990, has taken hands with Kragdag, the Pestalozzi Trust and EACH (East Africa Community of Homeschoolers) to host the upcoming Indaba.
The Pestalozzi Trust (legal defence fund for home schooling in South Africa) has, since its inception, had close contact with homeschooling organisations in countries such as the USA and Canada, where homeschooling has been legal and flourishing for decades.
Delegates from South Africa who attended the Global Home Education Conference (GHEC 2018) in Russia in 2018 (hosted by the Global Home Education Exchange or GHEX) were inspired by the Russian homeschooling scene. In the former Soviet country, home schooling is flourishing as families take the responsibility for raising their children themselves, instead of abdicating this right to the state.
Consequently, attendees from the Pestalozzi Trust, viz Karin van Oostrum (CEO of the Pestalozzi Trust and a board member of the GHEX), and Bouwe van der Eems (Chairman of the Pestalozzi Trust), together with Liz Gitonga and Godfrey Kyazze (representatives from Kenya and Uganda from EACH), formed an African Subcommittee of the GHEX, and decided to launch their own African Home Education Indaba (AHEI) celebrating home schooling in Africa.
International and national experts on home education have been invited to speak: such as Mike Donnelly (SC Director International Outreach of the Home School Legal Defense Association); Dr Brian Ray (most quoted researcher on home education from NHERI, USA); Peter Stock (President of the Canadian Home School Legal Defense Association); Dr Debra Bell (author and researcher (USA)) and Alexey Komov (a leader in the Russian home education movement), who will be attending with his son.
The topics of the Indaba are:
- Home education as a human right
- Home education regulation: What is in the best interests of the children?
- Freedom in home education
- The practice of home education: The nuts and bolts of home education
- How do I guarantee success in home education?
- Parents and families share their journeys
- Support structures in home education: Join up!
- It takes a village...: Home education and the community
- Approaches to home education
Brainline will also host the Gauteng Home Education Expo on Saturday, 19 October, which will be open to the public. There will be various activities for children such as horse riding demonstrations, film screenings, jumping castles, an obstacle course, kinderkinetics, cooking and cake decorating, first aid demonstrations, self-defence demonstrations, marble track competitions, marimba and guitar workshops and live music performances.
Brainline is IEB recognised, which means that learners follow the South African National curriculum (similar to the curriculum offered in SA schools) resulting in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) upon successful completion of their matric exams.