A HEXAGON RIGHT: THE SIX DIMENSIONS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN RIGHT TO BASIC EDUCATION
Keywords:right to basic education, hexagon right, six dimensions, primary and secondary school attendance, compulsory and free attendance, unqualified right, minimum core content
Notwithstanding the enactment of the South African Constitution in 1996, 23 years later, the need to determine the scope and content of the right to basic education has been a battlefield for authors. Whilst authors battle, complaints are made about the South African government charging school fees for basic education, decreasing pass thresholds for matriculants, students learning in dilapidated classrooms, non-delivery of text books, unqualified teachers and many complaints reminiscent of a failing basic education system. Despite citizen attempts to take the government to court for specific violations relating to the provision of basic education, in the absence of a law of general application specifically unpacking the scope and content of the right to basic education in South Africa, an ultimate question remains, what is the scope and content of the right to basic education for the purposes of its implementation in South Africa? This paper attempts to determine the scope and content of section 29(1)(a) using an international law approach. After engaging the provisions of international law as well as writings by other authors, the conclusion is that, in relation to its scope and content, section 29(1)(a) is a hexagon right that is, a right comprising of six interrelated dimensions. The six dimensions are that, the right to basic education includes primary and secondary school attendance, the right to basic education includes compulsory and free attendance of both primary and secondary school and the right to basic education is an unqualified right. Further, the right to basic education is a minimum core content of the right to education, the right to basic education must be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable and the quality standard of the right to basic education is explained by the World Declaration on Basic Education for All, 1990.
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