oa Journal of Education - Freedom of expression and the survival of democracy: has democracy in our schools received the death penalty?

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



In this article we argue that the right to freedom of expression is viewed internationally as a core right in a democracy. Since critical thinking is a prerequisite for democracy, this skill needs to be developed in South African schools. Critical incidents in schools, however, indicate that school authorities are not yet ready to develop this skill, as they still feel threatened by new, non-traditional meanings and opinions of authorities, learners and parents on human rights and leadership issues. We conclude that democracy is being suppressed in South African schools, since the right to freedom of expression, as a core right in a democracy, is not currently nurtured in the school system.

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