Freedom, Equity,
and Qualityin Education

SAELA traces its roots back to October 1995 when a steering committee, led by Prof Johan Beckmann, was formed with the vision of establishing an organization dedicated to South African education law and policy. This vision materialized in October 1996 during SAELPA’s inaugural international conference in Rustenburg, Northwest Province, South Africa. At this historic event, the association’s Constitution was formally adopted, and an executive committee was elected.

The pivotal role played by Prof Jan de Groof and the European Association for Education Law (ELA) cannot be overstated, as their support and assistance were instrumental in the lead-up to the conference and the formal establishment of SAELPA. A transformative moment occurred in 2006 when, following thoughtful deliberation, the association underwent a name change to become the South African Education Law Association (SAELA). This significant decision was made during the Annual General Meeting held in Port Alfred.


Our Presidents

Over its first two decades, SAELA has been guided by a succession of accomplished leaders, each contributing to the association’s growth and influence. The list of esteemed presidents includes:

1996-1997: Prof Johan Beckmann, University of Pretoria
1998-1999: Prof Elmene Bray, University of South Africa
2000-2002: Prof Joan Squelch, University of Johannesburg
2003- 2006: Prof Moss Thulare, Central University of Technology
2004-2006: Prof Elda de Waal, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus
2007-2010: Dr Ken Alston, University of Fort Hare, East London
2010-2014: Prof JP Rossouw, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus
2014-2017: Dr Jean van Rooyen, University of Pretoria
2017-2022: Dr Jaco Deacon, FEDSAS
2022: Prof Mariette Reyneke, University of the Free State

SAELA’s leadership has played a crucial role in steering the organization through various stages of development, and under the current leadership of Prof Mariette Reyneke, the association looks forward to further advancing its mission and impact in the realm of education law in South Africa.


Our Mission

Organize Engaging Events:
We host conferences, symposia, workshops, addresses, briefing sessions, and similar occasions to provide platforms for meaningful dialogue and knowledge exchange.
Promote Research & Teaching:
Actively encouraging and supporting research activities, their publication, and the development of educational resources in the field of education law and policy.
Facilitate Communication:
SAELA aims to enhance communication within the education law community through journals, newsletters, information sheets, or other mediums, ensuring seamless information flow.
Liaise with Education Authorities:
We establish effective liaisons with South African education authorities at all levels to contribute constructively to policy discussions.
Public Engagement:
SAELA actively promotes the participation of its members in public debates related to education law and policy, influencing positive change through informed and constructive discourse.
International Collaboration:
Seeking appropriate cooperation with South African, foreign, and international associations, institutions, or individuals that share our purpose or can contribute to the realization of our goals.
Supporting the Disadvantaged:
SAELA is committed to actively participating in programs that support disadvantaged members of the education community, creating an inclusive and equitable educational environment for all.
As members of SAELA,
we are united by our passion for education and a commitment to the principles of freedom, equity, and quality. Join us in our journey to make a lasting impact on South African education law and policy. Together, we can build a brighter future for education in our nation.

Our Vision

SAELA envisions a South African educational landscape where human rights are paramount, diversity is celebrated, and the highest standards of quality are upheld. Our mission is to make a tangible impact on education law matters by fostering engaging discussions, promoting human rights in education policy, and advancing knowledge and understanding of education law among all stakeholders.

Our Leadership

The heartbeat of SAELA lies in its dynamic executive committee, elected during the Annual General Meeting, typically convened in conjunction with the Association’s Annual Conference.

This dedicated group comprises 8-10 members, each playing a vital role, including the Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary. The election of a new executive committee takes place every three years, ensuring a continuous infusion of fresh perspectives and expertise to drive SAELA forward in its commitment to the advancement of education law in South Africa.

Explore the profiles of our current leadership and witness the collective passion and expertise that propels SAELA towards its goals.