HRC hearings scheduled on impact of protests on education

2016-06-13 10:05
School that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (News24 Correspondent)

School that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (News24 Correspondent)

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Johannesburg - Hearings on the impact of protest action on the right to basic education will start on Monday, the Human Rights Commission has announced.

“The hearings intend to highlight and explore the impact of protest on education and to consider ways of protecting the right to basic education in situations of this nature,” said HRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena in a statement.

“Recently, more than 50 000 learners were affected during demarcation protests that erupted in the Vuwani District in April 2016... In excess of twenty schools were burnt…

“To date normal schooling has not resumed in full.”

Concerns were now raised about students who might not be able to write exams, said Mangena.

The protests in the area followed a Limpopo High Court ruling confirming the incorporation of Vuwani into the Malamulele district.

Two years ago, at least five school were set alight during previous protests in the same area.

“The Commission understands that those schools have still not been repaired.”

Mangena said that the commission would also look at the case study of protests that broke out in October 2014 in Zeerust in the North West around access to water.

“During these protests, children were barred from attending school.”

Students preparing for matriculation examination were compromised.

“The North West Province also experienced protests in June 2013, February 2015, and in June 2016 protests in Majakaneng village, which resulted in closure of schools…

“This trend is prevalent across almost all provinces in the country.”

Mangena said that although communities had a right to protest, the commission needed to investigate whether the response of the government was adequate in terms of protecting children’s right to access education.

The hearings are scheduled to take place over the next three days.  Parties involved include the national government’s education and cooperative governance and traditional affairs department, the SA police services, school principals, community leaders and civil society.

“The Commission [aims] to identify policy, regulations, and programmatic interventions to secure children’s education during periods of conflict.”

Read more on:    sahrc  |  education  |  protests

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