National Constitutional provisions – Zambia
The constitution is the fundamental law of the country, reflecting the underlying and unifying values of society. It spells out the basic rights of each person; it serves as a framework for all other laws and policies, and cannot be easily changed. However, it can be changed and updated through a democratic process, and it is important to keep it alive, by popularising and using it, and by campaigning for its reform or amendment if necessary. Below we have picked out what we see as some of the most relevant articles, but please be encouraged to seek and read your constitution in its entirety.
The state is the central actor in any claim to the right to education: it is the prime duty-bearer and the prime implementer; it is the guarantor; and it is the state´s signature vis-à-vis the international norms and standards which binds it to respect, protect and fulfil the right to education. The state must therefore be judged or challenged on its central text on the right to education, whether this be the constitution, the laws or the policies.
The Constitution of Zambia 28th May, 1996
The Constitution includes human rights guarantees, but not the right to education.
Part IX - Directive principles of state policy and the duties of a citizen
Art.112 - Directive principles of state policy
(e) The State shall endeavor to provide equal and adequate educational opportunities in all fields and at all levels for all.
Art.24 - Protection of young persons from exploitation
No young person shall be employed and shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education (…).
Part III - Protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual
Art.19 - Protection of freedom of conscience
(1) Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of conscience, and for the purposes of this section the said freedom includes (…) freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in (…) teaching, (…).
(2) Except with his own consent (…), no person attending any place of education (…) shall be required to receive religious instruction (…) if that instruction (…) relates to a religion other than his own.
(3) No religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for persons of that community or denomination or from establishing and maintaining institutions to provide social services for such persons.