This case concerns whether the right to basic education includes a right to be provided with transport to and from school at state expense for those scholars who live a distance from their schools and who cannot afford the cost of that transport. 

This High Court case deals with the constitutional obligation of the South African government to promote basic education by securing timely appointment and funding of educators at all public schools.  

The Prešov Regional Court, one of the courts of appeals of the Slovak Republic, affirmed a lower court’s decision that schools cannot discriminate against children based on their ethnic origin or socially disadvantaged background. The Prešov Regional Court held that the defendant school was discriminating against children of Romani ethnic origin by placing those kids in separate Romani classes. It ordered that the school rectify the situation by the beginning of the next school year.

In this decision, the eighth chamber of review of the Constitutional Court of Colombia found that the State had violated the fundamental rights to education and equality of four children who lived outside the urban centre by not providing transportation to the closest secondary education institution.

In this action brought by a transgender student against the National Service of Education (SENA), the Constitutional Court defended the right to education and the free development of the person by ordering that the student be allowed to wear a male uniform, that he be treated in accordance with his identity as a transgender man, and that the SENA implement a plan that promotes the respect and free development of the person, particularly regarding expressions of gender identity and sexual orientation.

In this decision, the Court found that the right to education of a disabled child had been violated when the educational institution did not award an official certificate of completion for his secondary education, even after the student had met all the requirements of his personalised education project (proyecto pedagógico individual or PPI) because his PPI did not comply with the minimum requirements under local regulations. The Court concluded that people with disabilities have the right to an inclusive education on an equal basis with others, and this includes the right to have their capabilities and accomplishments certified under equal conditions. ‘Equal conditions’ does not necessarily mean identical requirements but rather, making reasonable adjustments to ensure that individuals are treated as equals. Namely, the Court explained that the plaintiff, having met the specific requirements of his PPI and having attended and passed 5 years of courses at the institution, had the same right as his classmates that had met the requirements imposed on them to receive a certificate.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the State failed to comply with its duty to make ample provision for the education of all children in Washington through dependable and regular tax sources. The evidence showed that the State’s funding levels fell short in the areas of basic operational costs, student transportation, and staff salaries.

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld a decision of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal (the ‘BC HRT’) (reversing the decisions of both the British Columbia Supreme Court and the British Columbia Court of Appeal) that the Board of Education of School District No. 44 (North Vancouver) (the ‘School District’), by closing a facility that provided intensive services and individualised assistance to students with severe learning disabilities, had denied a child with severe dyslexia access to a service customarily available to the public, being education, contrary to the British Columbia Human Rights Code (R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 210, s. 8). Although the School District was subject to severe funding constraints, it was found to have not acted with a bona fide and reasonable justification, which could have provided a defence to the Human Rights Code violation.

In this decision, the Constitutional Court of South Africa held that an eviction order obtained by an owner of private land on which a public school was located could not be enforced where it would impact students’ right to basic education and the best interests of the child under the South African Constitution (sections 28 and 29). The Court held that a private landowner and non-sate actor has a constitutional obligation not to impair the right to basic education under section 29 of the Constitution. The Court also held that, unlike other socio-economic rights protected by the Constitution, the right to basic education is immediately realisable and any limitation of this right must be 'reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom'.

This case involves the interpretation of the scope of the constitutional right in South Africa to basic education and in particular whether the provision of school textbooks to all basic education learners for the whole academic year is an essential component of this right.

 

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