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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X


MESTRY, Raj. A critical analysis of the learners' constitutional rights to basic education in South African public schools. Koers (Online) [online]. 2017, vol.82, n.3, pp.1-12. ISSN 2304-8557.

Globally, several countries have been proposing to make primary education compulsory ana freely available to all. Although there has been steady growth in learner enrolment in South African public schools since 1994, the socio-economic status of parents, racial and religious discrimination, high cost of school fees and schools' language policies have prevented poor learners from accessing basic education, especially in public schools located within affluent areas. This paper critically examii ies legislation and policies relating to children s constitu tional rights to basic education. The government's mandate to redress past injustices and concentrate on social justice and equity in public education is hampered by the failure of many schools to correctly interpret or consistently apply legislation and regulations relating to learner admissions It has been found that the admission policies drawn up by school governing bodies (SGB) covertly prevent poor learners from enrolling at affluent schools. Although school admissions have been contested in various court cases governing bodies of some affluent public schools continue to practise unfairness in opening its doors to all children. To ensure that social justice and equity prevail in school education, the Department of Education should revise policies or amend existing legislation encouraging SGBs to provide learner access without any prejudice.

Keywords : access; constitutional rights; legislation; exclusions; exemptions.

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