Media release: Bouwe van der Eems launches review of SCHOOLING legislation that affects small businesses

8 November 2022

Gail Day

The FMF is an independent, non-profit, public benefit organisation, created in 1975 by pro-free market business and civil society national bodies to work for
a non-racial, free and prosperous South Africa.
As a policy organisation it promotes sound economic policies and the principles
of good law. As a think tank it seeks and puts forward solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems: unemployment, poverty, growth, education, health care, electricity supply, and more. The FMF was instrumental in the post-apartheid negotiations and directly influenced the Constitutional Commission to include the property
rights clause: a critical cornerstone of economic freedom.

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Bouwe van der Eems launches review of SCHOOLING legislation that affects small businesses

On 8 November 2022, the Free Market Foundation (FMF) presented its sixth booklet in a series of eight titled Laws Affecting Small Business. Bouwe van der Eems, chairman of the Pestalozzi Trust, a civil rights organisation for home and civil education, outlined the problems caused by excessive schooling regulations, and recommended solutions.
Compulsory education that is both tax funded and supplied by the state, crowds out the private sector. Job opportunities that could be generated in education, and the economic growth accompanying these, are forfeit.
Regulation is a barrier preventing privately run educational institutions from being established. Those that do enter the field having successfully cleared the red-tape hurdles, are further inhibited by regulations that dictate teaching methods regarding numeracy, literacy and specific income earning skills. This makes it harder for private educational enterprises to implement best global practices since they must comply with domestic legislation.
The benefits of competition which are encouraged in every other market, can be harnessed in education too. Having multiple educational institutions competing against one another will ensure institutions prioritise excellent service. Beyond competition, multiple educational institutions of different forms will broaden the choice of parents to choose a school tailored to the needs of their child.
The South African government will not solve the skills shortage prevalent in South Africa through its current schooling programmes because it ignores one major problem. The skilled need to transfer their skills to the unskilled. Without this clear commitment from the state of the necessity of comprehensive skills transfer in its educational policy, the problems of an unskilled populace will not be solved.

Laws Affecting Small Business – Schooling proposes solutions that will open the schooling market, free it from unnecessary regulatory oversight and ensure that it produces individuals with the skills to help grow our economy by providing and creating value.
The FMF recommends the following:

  • Repeal legislative provisions that make school attendance compulsory.
  • Repeal the legislative provisions that prohibit the conducting of independent or private schools without government registration.
  • Issue vouchers to all pupils that will allow parents to choose freely the schools their children attend.
  • Refrain from prescribing a standardised curriculum or a specific method of learning for private enterprise schools.
  • Repeal legislative provisions which require parents who wish to educate their children at home to obtain official exemption from compulsory school attendance requirements.
  • Allow employers to employ or provide work to children under the age of 15 years if the employment or work is voluntary, has the approval of parents or guardians, and relates directly to learning and the transfer of skills. 
Bouwe van der Eems echoed the sentiments of the booklet, stating: “The voucher system is something I wholeheartedly support but it cannot be implemented if the industry is not liberated. If there is no regulatory certainty for the diversity of educational modalities, then a voucher can be like democracy in the Soviet Union. They give you a vote, but you can only vote for the candidate of the Communist party. So we must first free up the education space to make provision for all the modalities before we can use vouchers. Vouchers of course create a dynamic free market mechanism where people can choose what works best for them.”
This was the sixth in a series of eight mini launches to introduce recommendations to reduce the laws negatively affecting small business across a range of issues: tax, land, licensing, justice, labour, finance, health, schooling. Small businesses are the engine of the South African economy, and therefore the legislative instruments governing them are integral to creating an environment of growth and job-creation.
Laws Affecting Small Business – Schooling can be found
Launch dates and Speakers
15.11 | 1100-1130 – Langa Bodlani – JUSTICE
22.11 | 1100-1130 – Darlene Menzies – FINANCE
  1. 04.10 – Dawie Roodt – TAX
    The TAX booklet and presentation can be accessed
  2. 11.10 – Terence Corrigan – LAND
    The LAND booklet and presentation can be accessed
  3. 18.10 – Neil Emerick – LICENSING
    The LICENSING booklet and presentation can be accessed
  4. 25.10 – Michael Bagraim – LABOUR
    The LABOUR booklet and presentation can be accessed
  5. 02.11 – Gary Moore – HEALTH
    The HEALTH booklet and presentation can be accessed

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