South Africa is in the unique posi­tion of hav­ing the right to edu­ca­tion guar­an­teed in the Con­sti­tu­tion. The law has been used to advance this right by trans­lat­ing what is on paper into a real­ity for thou­sands of learn­ers across the coun­try. The LRC and part­ners have been at the fore­front of civil soci­ety efforts in achiev­ing this. We wanted to share our suc­cesses.

In Octo­ber 2013, the Legal Resources Cen­tre was proud to launch Ready to Learn? A Legal Resource for Real­is­ing the Right to Edu­ca­tion at the Open Soci­ety Foun­da­tions in New York (find the press release here). The book was designed for legal prac­ti­tion­ers and shares the LRC’s legal efforts to con­tribute to real­is­ing the right to edu­ca­tion in South Africa. Ready to Learn?

Fight­ing to Learn… A Legal Resource for Real­is­ing the Right to Edu­ca­tion is the fol­low on from Ready to Learn? Using the same for­mat as the first pub­li­ca­tion,Fight­ing to Learn… gives an update on many of the cases rep­re­sented in Ready to Learn? and pro­vides a more gen­eral reflec­tion on the role of edu­ca­tion in the devel­op­ment agenda.

In Fight­ing to Learn…, prac­ti­tion­ers of law in other juris­dic­tions can access a sum­mary and court papers relat­ing to the pro­vi­sion of class­room fur­ni­ture, access to learner-support mate­r­ial and the pay­ment and appoint­ment of teach­ers. It also gives follow-up mate­ri­als for the “mud schools” mat­ter and norms and stan­dards for edu­ca­tion.

It demon­strates how the Con­sti­tu­tional right to edu­ca­tion was inte­gral to our fight for a qual­ity edu­ca­tion that is acces­si­ble to all. It also demon­strates the cre­ativ­ity of LRC lawyers in their work, from using class actions, which is new in South Africa, to our increas­ing use of inno­v­a­tive reme­dies, such as using exter­nal admin­is­tra­tors to imple­ment court judg­ments.

 

 
Two decades after Apartheid was apolished, Some Children are More Equal than Others focuses on how the educational system in South Africa relates to the flagrant inequalities in the country and its still growing wealth-gap. In a nutshell, education in SA operates as a "Tale of two Systems." On the one hand there are 20 % of privileged people who send their children to a functioning schooling system. On the other hand, education is drastically failing 80 % of the children in South Africa. This self-perpetuating circle results in over 50 % youth-unemployment. The serious challenge of fixing the educational system is over-due and it is up to everyone to stand up for their right for basic education, a right enshrined in the constitution of South Africa.

Some Children are More Equal than Others is an independently produced one-man-film-project and was realized as a non-commercial documentary film. The human rights law firm "Legal Resources Centre" generously supported the filmmaker in order to raise awarness of the challenges faced in making South Africa a better place.

The  report examines Senegal’s mixed record in addressing the problem in the year since a fire ripped through a Quranic boarding school in Dakar housed in a makeshift shack, killing eight boys. After the fire, President Macky Sall pledged to take immediate action to close schools where boys live in unsafe conditions or are exploited by teachers, who force them to beg and inflict severe punishment when the boys fail to return a set quota of money. While important legislation has advanced, authorities have taken little concrete action to end this abuse. The report informs about the regulation of Quranic school and makes recommendations.

 

In April 2015 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology issued a statement banning pregnant girls from mainstream education. The exclusion of pregnant girls from mainstream education and from sitting exams is a violation of their right to education and a discriminatory measure which reinforces negative stereotypes about girls. Enforcement of the ban was immediate and was done through searches and physical examination of girls. Threatening their physical integrity and privacy Despite the establishment by the government with the support of some international donors of an alternative “bridging “ education system that would allow pregnant girls to continue going to school, there are still concerns about the human rights of the girls. Mainly for their lack of choice in attending one system or the other, their inability to take exams and the persistent stigmatisation of the ban.

Parallel Report submitted by the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, with the support of the Africa Network Campaign on Education For All, the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative, the Right to Education Project, the Global Campaign for Education and Education International to to the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women on the occasion of the consideration of the List of Issues related to the Periodic Reports of Ghana. This report highlights the issue of privatisation in education in Ghana.

Alternative Report submitted by ISER-Uganda and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, with the support of the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative, the Right to Education Project, Education International, the Global Campaign for Education, the Africa Network Campaign on Education For All, Forum for Education NGO's in Uganda and the Girls Education Movement Uganda Chapter to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 56th Ordinary Session for its consideration of the List of Issues for Uganda.

This report highlights the issue of privatisation in education in Uganda. 

This study investigates the operations of Bridge International Academies in Uganda where it has quickly expand since February 2015, with an estimated 12,000 fee-paying students. The company’s profit-driven, standardised ‘Academy-in- a-Box’ approach involves the neglect of legal and educational standards established by the Government of Uganda. This includes requirements to employ qualified teachers, observe the national curriculum and standards related to school facilities.

More than 40 percent of Tanzania’s adolescents are left out of quality lower-secondary education despite the government’s positive decision to make lower-secondary education free.

This report examines obstacles, including some rooted in outmoded government policies, that prevent more than 1.5 million adolescents from attending secondary school and cause many students to drop out because of poor quality education. The problems include a lack of secondary schools in rural areas, an exam that limits access to secondary school, and a discriminatory government policy to expel pregnant or married girls.

For a summary, see here.

For an esay to read version, in English, see here.

This 94-page report found that South Africa has failed to guarantee the right to education for many of the country’s children and young adults due to widespread discrimination against children with disabilities in enrolment decisions. Human Rights Watch research in five out of South Africa’s nine provinces showed that children with disabilities face discriminatory physical and attitudinal barriers, often beginning early in children’s lives when government officials classify them according to their disabilities. 

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