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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


MATHEBULA, Thokozani. Human rights and neo-liberal education in post-apartheid South Africa. Journal of Education [online]. 2018, n.71, pp.91-106. ISSN 2520-9868.

Internationally, people have different concepts of human rights. In this article, I discuss three dominant schools of thought through which human rights have been conceived of. These are the natural school (human rights as given), the deliberative school (human rights as agreed upon) and the protest school (human rights as fought for). I show that the thinking of deliberative scholars forms the basis of Rawls's (1971) principles of the social contract reflected in global, regional, and domestic human rights frameworks. I argue that the neo-liberal state (and, by implication, the neoliberal education agenda) in post-apartheid South Africa does not guarantee equal access to education as agreed upon during the political negotiation period in South Africa. Echoing the tenets of the protest school of thought, I maintain that, despite the anti-apartheid struggle movement's achievements in human rights, the right to education is yet to be fully realised. I employ two basic questions of political philosophy to support the protest scholars' call for continual struggle by (or for) those denied the right to education in post-apartheid, neo-liberal South African schools.

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