Centre for Child Law Events PDF Print E-mail

Civil Society Education Conference

"Realising Basic Education as a Socio-Economic Right: How far have we come and where are we going?"

On 14 and 15 November 2012 the Centre for Child Law, the Legal Resources Centre, Equal Education, Section27 and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, organised and hosted an education conference.

The organisations were motivated by their common concern about the way in which education is currently provided, and the difficulties in ensuring that the right to education is realised. The aim of the conference was to initiate a dialogue with other groups and organisations in order to enrich and advance efforts to address the challenges in education.

Other aims of the conference were to analyse the outcomes of litigation that has been undertaken and the implementation of policy and law reform; facilitate discussions on non-legal initiatives being pursued to advance the right to basic education and inform better collaboration and understanding between legal and non-legal initiatives and how such collaboration can impact positively on the fullfilment of the right to basic education.

The conference was attended by a number of important stakeholders, from civil society and government, seeking to ensure that the right to basic education is properly implemented in South Africa. Following the conference a report was put together that details all the presentations made. 

Download the conference report   

education conf

Seminar on child rights litigation in Eastern and Southern Africa

The Centre together with Save the Children Sweden hosted a seminar on Strategic Impact Litigation on Children’s Rights in Eastern and Southern Africa. The seminar was held over a 3 day period, from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November 2011. Participants invited to attend the seminar were from a number of southern and eastern African countries. These participants were representative of various civil society organizations and legal practitioners  all interested in and working towards the advancement and enforcement of children’s rights.

Impact litigation Seminar 2011_3_3

Impact litigation Seminar 2011_3_2

Seminar on Strategic Impact Litigation on Children’s Rights in Eastern and Southern Africa

Strategic impact litigation, as a tool to advance and protect children’s rights, is used by very few practitioners and is not widely known and understood. The aim of the seminar was increase the participants’ awareness and understanding of strategic impact litigation as a tool to advance the rights of children in their respective countries.

A number of speakers gave presentations at the seminar, giving our participants an overview of different elements of strategic litigation could be used in relation to children’s rights. Ann Skelton and Karabo Ngidi gave presentations on the first day on the nature of strategic impact litigation, such as:

  • The ideal socio-political environment
  • Standing
  • Timing: mootness and ripeness
  • Choosing the right cases and clients
  • Legal representation of children: Protection v participation

The second day of the seminar was spent in Johannesburg with Justice Albie Sachs. The former judge of the Constitutional Court gave the seminar participants a guided tour of the Constitutional Court and a talk on children’s rights litigation from a judge’s perspective. Thereafter Advocate Steven Budlender of the Johannesburg Bar discussed the kinds of remedies available in litigation. Lastly Nicole Fritz and Abede Bhamjee from the Southern African Litigation Centre discussed strategic impact litigation in Southern Africa with particular reference to the Moyo case, a case that they were involved in.

On the last day of the seminar, Professor Michelo Hansungule of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria discussed the different ways in which African regional mechanisms can be used to protect and enforce children’s rights. Partick Geary from the Child Rights Information Network (based in London), gave a presentation on an international database of decisions that refer to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The seminar ended with participants discussing a plan and exchanging ideas on what cases might be brought in their respective countries.

Seminar Report

 

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Latest News

18 June 2018

Centre for Child Law Brief - "Violence in schools - Public Anger Misdirected"

The Centre's Director, Prof. Ann Skelton, reflects on news about school violence that dominated the week running up to Youth Day 2018. Early in the week, a video surfaced showing what purported to be two girls assaulting a teacher. The video went viral on social media, with the image being viewed again and again. There was a public outcry, radio station callers complained that kids are out of control, they have too many rights, we are too soft on the youth, we must get tougher, bring back corporal punishment, put cameras in every classroom.

As it turns out, the victim of the violence was not a teacher after all. The Limpopo Department of Education spokesperson confirmed that the two learners doing the assaulting as well as their victim were all learners at a school in Limpopo province, and the assault took place outside the victim's home, and not on school premises as previously assumed. Education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe said that the Department viewed this conduct in a serious light as it had brought the school into disrepute. He added that the Department vehemently condemns violence among learners and violence against teachers by leaners'.

But what about violence by teachers against learners? In the same week, Radio 702 reported on the death of a girl in Limpopo, following an incident on 28 May 2018 in which the Principal of the school she attended, banged the girl's head against a windowpane in the staffroom, causing a head injury. The girl died on 9 June 2018. While the link between the assault and her death has not be proved, assault is assault and should have attracted an arrest. The Principal has not been arrested. Following that story, there was no public outcry, limited media coverage, no calls from journalists to the Centre for Child Law. There were no angry statements from SADTU, no vehement condemnation of violence by teachers against pupils from the Department of Education. A telling silence.

Read the brief for more:

Violence in Schools

15 June 2018

Centre for Human Rights & Centre for Child Law call on the Government of South to "Leave No Child Behind"

On 16 June 2018, Africa commemorates the Day of the African Child 2018 under the theme "Leave No Child Behind for Africa's Development". This year's theme aims to target children who are not benefitting from Africa's growth and development. African countries are challenged to ensure that children are at the centre and not left behind in the drive towards sustainable economic development. This day is commemorated in memory of the Soweto student uprising, that began on June 16 1976, when students marched in protest against the poor quality of education they received and demanded to be taught in their own languages.

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR) and the Centre for Child Law (CCL), both based at the University of Pretoria, encourage South Africa to use this opportunity to reflect on whether it is rising to the challenge to leave no child behind. South Africa's child rights legal framework is one of the most progressive and respected in Africa and the world. It is developed and improved with the aim of viewing each child in South Africa as an individual with rights accrued to him or her as a human being.

However, despite the advances that have been taken to improve the situation of children in South Africa, a lot remains to be done to ensure that children are at centre stage and participate in the drive towards sustainable economic development. Recent events highlight the need to do more to ensure that children in South Africa are beneficiaries of constitutionally promised rights and freedoms.

The Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Child Law highlight a number of rights violations and barriers that need to be addressed by the Government of South Africa, they deal with: children's right to protest; placing children with disabilities high on the political agenda; and the eradication of pit latrine toilets in rural schools. 

For more see a joint press statement:

CCL & CHR Joint Press Statement

Centre for Child Law