The Role of Law in Prompting Parents to Participate Accountably with Education Partners


  • Elda De Waal Associate-Professor in Education Law, OPTENTIA focus area, North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus)
  • Erika Serfontein Associate-Professor in Law, North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus)



Education Law, parental responsibility, participation, accountability, learner discipline, partners in education


Bearing in mind the previous Gauteng Education MEC’s recent indication that “discipline starts at home”, our article focuses on what South African law has contributed during the past 20 years to prompt parents participate accountably with partners in public school education, and how case law has defined parent accountability in this regard. Examples of relevant legislation would be those which assign the ultimate responsibility for learner conduct to parents, and call for a harmonious relationship between parents and educators. In line with the South African Schools Act’s requiring that parents partner with the State, educators and learners in accepting responsibility for their children’s schooling, this article highlights the need for a shared vision of the way forward. The importance of having such a shared vision to bring these disparate stakeholders’ aspirations together around the common goal, namely to develop all learners’ talents and capabilities, is underscored. The authors argue that factors such as reciprocal blame and a lack of cooperation are among the problems that hamper the full realisation in practice of the legislative provisions pertaining to parental accountability. Our article identifies solutions to this challenge, such as parents’ setting upright examples by behaving in an accountable manner, and recommendations, such as empowering parents for their roles as partners in education.

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How to Cite

De Waal, E., & Serfontein, E. (2015). The Role of Law in Prompting Parents to Participate Accountably with Education Partners. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 18(6), 2328–2364.

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