South Africa: #getchildrenintoschool - Landmark Education Case Will Have an Impact On Undocumented Learners

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Education is a transformative and empowering right, and no jurisdiction limits access to education based on a child's immigration status, an Eastern Cape court heard.

On September 18, SECTION27 intervened as amicus curiae in the Makhanda High Court in a landmark case against the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). An application submitted to the High Court by the Centre for Child Law, the governing body of Phakamisa High School and 37 children sought relief to ensure undocumented learners were allowed to attend schools and funded by the education department regardless of identity documentation.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) intervened as second amicus, to make a submission on the interpretation of the Immigration Act which would allow the right to basic education for undocumented learners.

The application was heard by Judge President Selby Mbenenge, Judge Irma Schoeman and Acting Judge SM Mfenyana.

SECTION27 attorney Samantha Brener, head of education rights programme Faranaaz Veriava, legal researcher Vuyisile Malinga and advocate Nikki Stein. (Photos supplied)

The proceedings began with the presentation of a draft order by advocate Sarah Sephton, counsel representing the Centre for Child Law and the governing body of Phakamisa High School....

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