South Africa: Basic Education On High Court Judgment Regarding Undocumented Learners

(file photo).
press release

The Department of Basic Education has noted the judgement by the High Court in the Eastern Cape regarding the matter involving undocumented learners.

In essence, the judgment has found that Clauses 15 and 21 of the school Admission Policy for Ordinary Public Schools of 1998 are unconstitutional. The requirements, which have been in use since 1998, stipulate which documents are required for learners to be admitted.

Clause 15 of the admission policy says a parent must present an official birth certificate of the learner to the principal of the public school. If the parent is unable to provide the birth certificate the learner may be admitted conditionally until a copy of the birth certificate is obtained from the regional office of the Department of Home Affairs.

Clause 21, which deals with admissions of non-citizens, says that persons classified as illegal aliens must, when applying for admission for their children or for themselves, show evidence that they have applied to the Department of Home Affairs to legalise their stay in the country in terms of the Aliens Control Act, 1991 (no.96 of 1991).

The judgment comes at a time when the Department is busy with a review of the admission policy including the two provisions in clauses 15 and 21.

The department will go through the judgment in detail and establish the extent to which it will assist the amendments that were already underway.

The Department of Basic Education is already working with the Department of Home Affairs, Centre for Child Law and the South African Human Rights Commission in addressing the issue.

Issued by: Department of Basic Education

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