4 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Right to Education in the Final Draft Constitution

press release

Now that the final draft of the Constitution is out, the SST notes with satisfaction that the right to education remains enshrined in the soon-to-be supreme law of the land under the Bill of Rights.

Zimbabwe, which is part of the United Nations (UN) and sits in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and as such, is bound by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948, has finally shown serious commitment towards domesticating the right to education by incorporating it into its municipal law as directed by the UDHR.

In fact progressive nations have over the years incorporated into their national laws most of the rights enshrined in the UDHR in line with the last paragraph of the UDHR preamble which states verbatim:

" Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."

The final draft has domesticated Article 26(1) of the UDHR which states that every individual has got a right to education and it goes on to state that education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory while technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Section 75 of the final draft reads as follows;

75 (1) Every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to

A basic State-funded education, including adult basic education; and

Further education, which the State, through reasonable legislative and other measures, must make progressively available and accessible.

(2) Every person has the right to establish and maintain, at their own expense, independent educational institutions of reasonable standards, provided they do not discriminate on any ground prohibited by this Constitution.

(3) A law may provide for the registration of educational institutions referred to in subsection (2) and for the closing of any such institutions that do not meet reasonable standards prescribed for registration.

(4) The State must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of the right set out in subsection (1).

To this end the SST would soon begin to campaign for a YES vote in support of the Final Draft as part of on-going preparations for the referendum which is most likely to be held in March.


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