South Africa: Attending School While Undocumented

analysis

A case to be heard in the High Court in Makhanda will substantially impact on nearly a million learners inside and on the peripheries of the South African public school system.

On 18 and 19 September 2019, a High Court in the town of Makhanda, Eastern Cape, will hear arguments in Centre for Child Law and others v Minister of Basic Education and others. The case will substantially impact on nearly a million learners inside and on the peripheries of the South African public school system - children who have come to be known as "undocumented learners".

These children want to attend school, to learn, grow and flourish, but their ability to do so is at risk because they lack one or more official documents - an identity document, evidence of having applied for a permit, or the permit itself.

The case considers, among other things, the constitutionality of provisions of a policy and a piece of legislation.

The impugned provisions of the policy - the Admissions Policy for Public Ordinary Schools - require that learners provide an identity document as a condition for admission into schools. If learners do not have an identity document, they may be conditionally admitted...

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