EDITOR – As schools around the country prepare the open, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC or Commission) wishes to remind all schools that the right to a basic education, as contained in section 29 of the Constitution, is guaranteed to all persons, regardless of nationality, status, or documentation.
Both the South African Schools Act (Act No. 84 of 1996) and the National Admission Policy for Ordinary Schools require schools to admit learners without unfair discrimination and further require the provisional enrolment of undocumented learners, while obliging schools to provide assistance in obtaining documentation.
Despite these provisions, the Commission, together with a number of other civil society organisations, have frequently had to intervene in the past, in instances where learners were either refused admission, or expelled from school as a result of the lack of documentation. This includes an incident in January 2017 when a school issued letters containing misinformation to parents of learners claiming that the South African Police Service (SAPS) would arrest undocumented learners found at the school. The SAHRC hopes that similar incidents do not occur during the 2018 admissions process.
However, in the event that a learner is denied admission because of lack of documentation, the learner or their parents or guardian, should immediately approach the Provincial Education Department or the SAHRC for assistance.
The South African Human Rights Commission
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