Tag Archives: human rights

Charter established to affirm basic education rights and obligations



A charter on basic education has been drawn up to clarify the South African government’s obligation to provide quality education to children, and to track its progress.

The Charter of Children’s Basic Education Rights has been established by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and each year is going to evaluate progress against the charter by making use of national and provincial data from Statistics South Africa, the Department of Basic Education and other available research. Even though the charter is not legally binding on the state, it provides advice and guidance as to how the state can fulfill its obligations, and will keep track of its education delivery. After Ireland and United Kingdom, South Africa is the third country globally to possess a basic education charter.

The commissioner for children’s rights at the SAHRC, Lindiwe Mokate, is quoted as saying: “The right to a basic education is a constitutionally protected right that is unequivocally guaranteed to all children in South Africa. It is considered a central facilitative right that is not qualified by expressions such as ‘available resources’, ‘progressive realisation’, or ‘reasonable legislative measures’, which are applicable to other socio-economic rights enshrined in our Constitution.”

She added the fact that it has more and more been accepted at an international level that national human rights institutions, given their independent nature and knowledge of local conditions, were best positioned to establish the monitoring indicators for economic and social rights.

“The charter provides a statement of the various obligations of the state to ensure the realisation of the right to basic education, notes key shortcomings and inequities, revisits commitments made to address the gaps in achieving quality education, and the key role players are identified,” said Mokate.

Aida Girma, Unicef’s representative in South Africa, stated that the right to education was crucial in efforts to eliminate poverty and tackle these challenges. “It is my hope that this charter will contribute to renewal of, and re-commitment to, quality basic education for all children in South Africa,” she said.


Lindiwe Mokate, the commissioner for children’s rights at the SAHRC
Lindiwe Mokate, the commissioner for children’s rights at the SAHRC


The charter

There are numerous underlying reasons behind the inadequate quality of education and educational outcomes.

As stated by the SAHRC, these include:

  • social and economic factors, such as poverty and low literacy levels and low levels of formal education in children’s families;
  • insufficient levels of educational support at home;
  • insufficient school infrastructure and basic services at schools such as water, sanitation and electricity;
  • lack of learning resources and materials such as libraries, laboratories and text books;
  • the cost of schooling;
  • poorly trained teachers and teachers with insufficient subject knowledge;
  • lack of access to early childhood education, among others

The charter offers an informational and advocacy instrument that will assist an array of stakeholders to be aware of their rights and responsibilities.

The information in the charter offers an indication of what children, their parents along with other caregivers may expect of the education system. It is an educational tool for parents and caregivers with regards to the role they might be expected to play to ensure that children can enjoy their right to basic education. Furthermore, it is a summative planning and monitoring tool for the departments of basic education concerning their respective obligations.

In addition, it incorporates a planning tool for institutions of higher learning along with the national Department of Basic Education regarding their roles and responsibilities when it comes to enhancing the quality of teachers, teaching and learning in the classroom, among other things.

“Twenty years into the democratic dispensation we are still arguing about the norms and standards of education. Every child is entitled to a good education. We have spent time talking with little action as far as the child’s right to education is concerned,” said the SAHRC’s chairman, Lawrence Mushwana.


The charter includes:

  •  The availability of education: basic education must be made available by the state to all children;
  •  The accessibility of education: education must be accessible to all children;
  •  Acceptable education: the curriculum, teachers, teaching methods, educational outcomes and teacher and learner behavior must be acceptable; and,
  •  Adaptable education: the education system must be inclusive, flexible and responsive to children’s different circumstances and learning needs.

Mokate added: “The charter provides a benchmark of where we are in terms of fulfilling the right to a basic education and where we need to go to ensure that every child receives an education.”

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


South Africa’s New HIV/Aids plan unveiled

President Jacob Zuma has unveiled the brand new National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV and Aids 2012 – 2016, which experts claim promises to do a great deal more to tackle TB and concerns of violence against women.

The NSP proposes to take care of HIV, sexually transmitted infections along with tuberculosis by implementing a holistic approach consisting of preventative and therapeutic steps.

It is able to combine five succinct goals and four aims, whose consolidated objective is to quash new HIV infections.


President Jacob Zuma



The five goals are:


  • Decrease new HIV infections by a minimum of 50% simply by using a mixture of prevention strategies;
  • Initiate at the very least 80% of suitable patients on antiretroviral treatment with 70% living and on treatment five years after initiation;
  • Decrease the volume of new TB infections in addition to deaths from TB by 50%;
  • Make sure that there is an empowering and accessible legal framework which will safeguard and boost human rights in an effort to support the implementation of the NSP, and
  • Decrease self-reported stigma related to HIV and TB by at least 50%.


The NSP is further strengthened by its four goals, which are:


  • Deal with social and structural barriers to HIV, STI and TB prevention, care and impact;
  • Prevent new HIV, STI and TB infections;
  • Sustain health and wellness, and
  • Increase the protection of human rights and improve access to justice.


Launching the master plan at the Wolfson Stadium in KwaZakhele, Zuma pointed out the fact that the country had also adopted the ‘three zeros’ endorsed at the United Nations high level meeting in New York this June as a vision for the next 20 years.

“In addition, we incorporated as a country, a fourth zero, which intends to eliminate HIV transmission from mother to child.

“The four zeros are ‘zero new HIV and TB infection; zero new infections as a result of mother to child transmission; zero preventable deaths associated with HIV and TB, and zero discrimination associated with HIV and TB,” Zuma spelled out.

The President was satisfied of the fact that the issue of violence against women was reflected in the new NSP.

Recently available research in South Africa indicated that the country could quite possibly avoid HIV infections in young women as long as they were not afflicted by violence or intimidation by their partners.

“Government is prioritising the fight against the abuse of women and children by way of law enforcement along with education and awareness.

“All of us also need to greatly enhance our socio-economic interventions to cope with poverty, unemployment, food insecurity and inequality… these either give rise to the spread of HIV or worsen the impact of the epidemic,” said Zuma.




The new plan is going to be executed in the coming year in April.

Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet pointed out for the process to work, absolutely everyone needed to get on board.

“Let’s make certain that these endeavours within the NSP don’t go to waste but take us forward… We hope that the information shared today will make a difference to the youth and allow us to achieve the triple zeros accordingly,” said Kiviet.

Welcoming the unveiling of the new plan, Prudence Mabela, who has been living with HIV for 22 years, stated that everyone had to walk the talk when it came to implementing the plan.

She encouraged other infected people to take treatment and individuals who have not tested to go find out their status.

“You can trust the public hospitals, I am making use of them and they are helping… Together with the treatment you can live longer. I’ve taken TB treatment for six months and it’s effective, including the ARVs,” said Mabela.

Source: BuaNews