Access to education for non-national children in South Africa
Keep up to date with our Teach-Yourself Series – condensed articles on current and planned changes in South African migration law. Our articles and infographics aim to spread awareness on South Africa’s migration landscape, and our standpoints on the i …
- What does the law say?
- Do non-South African children have a right to education in South Africa?
- Must non-South African children pay school fees too?
- Do children need an identity document to enroll at a South African school?
- What kind of barriers do non-South African children face in accessing education in South Africa?
- What kind of problems are schools facing in terms of admitting undocumented children?
- What has been done, in the courts, about this, and what was the outcome?
- I have more questions, who can I ask?
What kind of barriers do non-South African children face in accessing education in South Africa?
Despite the well-defined protections of basic education for non-South African children by the Constitution, case law, and national legislation, many non-South Africans still face unjust barriers in accessing education. The most common barrier is the lack of identifying documentation, such as birth certificates (see our article on birth registration of non-national children in South Africa here). In cases such as this, parents and caregivers should enroll their children in schooling and obtain the documents within the three month grace period. Section 11 of the WCED Policy for the Management of Admission and Registration of Learners at Ordinary Public Schools states that school staff should, ‘assist parents to obtain the necessary documentation from Home Affairs to speed up the process of admission and to ensure learners are provided the right to education.’ Parents and caregivers must also provide evidence that they have applied through the Department of Home Affairs for a recognised status.