n South African Law Journal - Concretising the right to a basic education

Volume 129, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



This article argues that the s 29(1)(a) right to a basic education affords an unqualified right to adequate school facilities. This argument builds on the Constitutional Court's recent judgment in Governing Body of the Juma Musjid Primary School & others v Essay NO & others, which affirms that the right to a basic education is an unqualified right, distinct from the textually qualified socio-economic rights in the South African Constitution, and strongly suggests that 'a basic education' is a substantive standard of education. Drawing on recent litigation, we proceed to argue that must be understood to include a right to adequate school facilities: facilities that are conducive to effective teaching and learning and do not threaten the health, safety and dignity of learners and teachers. We then explore some of the possibilities and challenges involved in the judicial enforcement of this unqualified right to adequate facilities. We argue that the unqualified right affords litigants a number of advantages, and the challenges it presents can be overcome without stripping the right of its content or force.

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