On 17 May 2024, the Centre for Child Law (Centre) hosted a hybrid launch event of the first two reports in a series of four linked papers on ‘Improving Government Accountability to Advance the Right to Basic Education’ as part of a project in partnership with SECTION27.

The research reports launched at the event are titled:

Paper 1: Unequal Access to School Infrastructure and Litigation to Force Change, and

Paper 2: Implementation of Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.

The project aims to enhance government accountability in advancing the constitutionally guaranteed, and immediately realisable right to basic education for all through equitable measures particularly targeted at vulnerable populations in South Africa where schools are characterised by inadequate school infrastructure that is inconducive to learning in a dignified environment.

The launch event was attended by education experts, educator representative organisations, researchers, school infrastructure advocates, child law experts, child protection professionals and representatives from diverse civil society organisations who participated in the deliberations on the research findings.

Discussants included representatives from partner organisations including SECTION27, Legal Resource Centre (LRC), Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) and Equal Education (EE) who engaged in the research findings and proposed further reflections, approaches and interventions to strengthen what has already been done through litigation and advocacy.

Key findings as presented by CCL Director, Karabo Ozah, emphasised the need for continued child protection efforts against the observed general regression in school infrastructure funding, lagging policy implementation and lack of accountability.

Tsukudu Moroeng, Attorney at LRC, contextualised the research findings within the doctrinal development of infrastructure litigation and the development of norms and standards founded on advocacy, policy development and jurisprudence emanating from litigation while Matshidido Lencoasa, Budget Researcher at SECTION27 assessed school infrastructure funding challenges and the role of civil society in demanding accountability and policy development.

Noncedo Madubedube, General Secretary at EE, addressed the need for active participation of children and affected communities, through a ‘nothing about us without us’ approach toward accountability. She discussed child-led grassroots activism, galvanisation, and noticeable achievements in securing government accountability, policy change, and paradigm shift due to EE’s work to ensure sustainable systemic change. Reflecting on the journey towards the Norms of Standards policy, Noncedo highlighted the need for a ‘long-game approach’ through engaging stakeholders, learner mobilisation and empowerment, policy education and awareness, research, advocacy and innovative activism.

Tshegofatso Phala, Director of EELC, closed by highlighting the general takeaways discussions, she emphasised the need for organisations to continue in their sectoral partnerships to support continued strategic interventions to ensure that children can learn in safe schools.

(Also, see the interview about the BELA Bill and research findings by the Centre’s Director).

* The European Union funding supports the Centre for Child Law and SECTION27’s work in enhancing accountability in health and education in South Africa.


For more information and media queries, please contact:

Karabo Ozah
Director, Centre for Child Law

Moyahabo Ozah
Researcher, Centre for Child Law
012 420 4502