BANTU EDUCATION ACT - Results of the Eiselen Commission



The Bantu Education Act, no 47 of 1953 merely dealt with the very broad outlines of the new educational system decided upon by the South African government. It was amended in 1954, 1956, 1959 and 1961. It was left to the relevant Minister of Education to make regulations covering all other educational matters.

This Act, in collaboration with the Bantu Special Education Act, no 24 of 1964, provided for the control of non-white education, including teacher training, but excluding their higher education, to be transferred from churches under the jurisdiction of Provincial administrations to the central government. The Roman Catholic Church was the only religious institution that did not close its schools rather than hand them over to the government.

Various types of schools catered for ‘normal’ children, like Bantu community schools, established and maintained by Bantu Authorities, tribes or communities, and in approved cases subsidised by the state. Other state aided schools were allowed to exist, but it was determined that prior to the granting of aid the Minister of Education had to consider whether the existence of such a school would preclude or retard the establishment of a community or a government school. All existing provincial schools became government schools, and further government schools were allowed to be established. Special schools catered for handicapped children.

It was illegal for anyone to establish, conduct or maintain a Bantu school unless this had been registered or exempted from registration. Registration was the discretion of the Minister, who could impose conditions on individual schools. Registration could also be cancelled if stipulated conditions were not compiled with or if, after an inquiry by the Bantu Affairs Commission the Minister was satisfied that the existence of the school was not in the interest of the Bantu people.

The Minister of Education was empowered to establish regional or local boards, committees or other bodies to which he could entrust the control and management of one or more government or community schools. Alternatively, control was to be entrusted to a Bantu Authority, which was dominated by largely uneducated people appointed by the Bantu Education Board. Any school board or committee could be disbanded if, after an inquiry had been held, the Minister deemed it to be expedient.

Teachers in community or state aided schools fell under the control of the person or body vested with control of the school concerned.