The National Education Policy Act (NEPA) & The South African Schools Act (SASA)


The National Education Policy Act (NEPA) (1996), designed to inscribe in law the policy, legislative and monitoring responsibilities of the Minister of Education and to formalise the relations between national and provincial authorities. It established the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) and Heads of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) as inter-governmental forums to collaborate in building the new system, and provides for the determination of national policies in general and further education and training for among others, curriculum, assessment, language policy and quality assurance. NEPA embodies the principle of co-operative governance, elaborated in Schedule Three of the Constitution.

The South African Schools Act (SASA) (1996), to promote access, quality and democratic governance in the schooling system. It ensures that all learners have the right of access to quality education without discrimination, and makes schooling compulsory for children aged 7 to 14. It provides for two types of schools – independent schools and public schools. The Act’s provision for democratic school governance through school governing bodies is now in place in public schools countrywide. The school funding norms outlined in SASA prioritise redress and target poverty in funding allocations to the public schooling system.

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