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SAHRC statement regarding its Consultative Workshop on the Charter on Basic Education Rights
Thursday, 19 July 2012

The South African Human Rights Commission and its stakeholders today commence their consultative workshop to invite participants’ comments on, and engagement with, the obligations and indicators in the Charter on Basic Education Rights, with a focus on the reaching agreement on the nature and description of the indicators for monitoring the fulfillment of the right to basic education.

The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, will deliver the key note address at the workshop.

Expected to participate at the workshop are Members of Parliament, Stakeholders such as Provincial MECs of Education, Representatives from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Office of the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation.

The South African Human Rights Commission is constitutionally mandated to monitor and assess the observance of the human rights in South Africa.

In its task of monitoring the realization of the right to basic education in South Africa, it has become apparent to the Commission that there is a lack of a common and consolidated national statement of the scope and content of the right to basic education, or conversely, the scope of obligations to realize the right.

On a daily basis, the Commission is confronted with a myriad of complaints including:

•    issues around corporal punishment;
•    children of school-going age not attending school for various reasons
•    poor resourcing of schools;
•    lack of facilities to accommodate children with disabilities;
•    violence against learners based on gender or otherwise.

According to a comparative review of the Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ III), educational data confirm not only that South Africa performs poorly in comparsion to other SACMEQ countries, despite its higher monetary investment in education, but also that it fairs even poorer in terms of educational outcomes for the majority of African children living in poverty.

The South African Human Rights Commission recognised that there is no clear indication of what children and their parents and caregivers may expect from and demand of the education system.

The Charter is a culmination of an extensive engagement process and research by the Commission and stakeholders. It aims to provide a common legally grounded monitoring and advocacy framework for use by the Commission and all relevant role players.

It is expected that by the end the consultative workshop participants will agree on the obligations on the State to realize, protect and promote the right to basic education and the nature and content of the indicators most appropriate to provide an annual snap shot of the state of progress towards fulfillment of the stated obligations.

The Commission believes that the Charter will be a useful tool to ensure effective monitoring of the realization of the right to basic education

Enquiries: Vincent Moaga on 073 562 9866
For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]

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