THE Education Department has received overwhelming response to a draft policy on school attendance.
The department of Basic Education wants to standardise procedures for schools keeping attendance registers and reporting attendance information.
Since the publication of the draft document, rumours that parents are being arrested for not sending their children to school up to Grade 9 have been circulating.
But the department says there is no need for the parents to panic.
The department's spokesperson Dr Granville Whittle said: "The Heads of Education Departments Committee have agreed that national norms are desirable and the draft policy proposes what they should be.
"The new procedures have been piloted in two provinces, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. The lessons learned will be built into the new policy, as will advice received from the public comments."
He said the new policy spells out ways in which public schools can build and maintain a culture of punctual and regular attendance at school, with the support of the parents.
Whittle said: "The proposed policy applies to all pupils, not just those in the compulsory attendance bracket.
"Once a parent enrols a child in a school it is expected that the pupil will attend punctually and regularly with parental support.
"Effective schools are disciplined schools, with disciplined principals, teachers, parents and pupils. The draft policy reinforces that principle."