The Department of Basic Education has published Guidelines for the Provision of Boarding Facilities in Public Ordinary Schools with the objective of providing guidance to provincial and other education authorities and facilitating uniformity in the management of boarding facilities at schools.
More specifically, the objectives of the Guidelines are to:
- Provide guidance with regard to the equitable provision and management of boarding facilities at schools;
- Provide a systematic and strategic prioritisation of needs regarding the core elements of an enabling environment for boarding facilities at schools;
- Enable provincial education departments to control and manage the cost of providing boarding facilities and to regulate the provision of infrastructure in boarding facilities; and
- Implement guidelines for the monitoring and evaluation of boarding facilities operations.
Key principles informing the guidelines are equity and redress. The Guidelines apply to all public school boarding facilities, but not boarding facilities at Special Schools. However, the Guidelines specify that the design of facilities must ensure accessibility by all people, including people with disabilities.
In the case of primary schools, boarding facilities must be the last considered course of action where all other alternatives of providing access to the school have been exhausted. In the case of a decision to establish a primary school boarding facility, the social development and best interests of the child are to be considered.
The Guidelines list the roles and responsibilities of the national and provincial departments of Basic Education as well as the District Offices.
The Guidelines require that boarding facilities comply with the constitutionally protected right to an environment that is not harmful to the child’s health or well-being. The facility must be safe and secure, protect their privacy, promote their welfare and development, and promote a positive link with surrounding communities as well as access to services of their choice (within reason).
The Guidelines specify the spaces that should be available for learners and specifically provide that primary school learners should be housed in small groups to promot easy and intensive individual care.
Criteria for admission to boarding facilities are specified, and are informed by the principles of equity and redress, with an emphasis on admitting learners who have to walk more than 10kms to and from the nearest school, learners from low-income families, and learners who are orphans.
The Guidelines further require the provision of counselling to learners to explain the reasons why they have been separated from their families.
The provincial education departments are required to provide funding for the establishment of boarding facilities.
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