Dialogues on rights-based socially inclusive and cohesive schools to be hosted

South Africa is commemorating Human Rights Month under the theme: “Three Decades of Respect for and Promotion of Human Rights”. This year’s theme pays tribute to the 30th anniversary of freedom and democracy.

The month of March will be used to reflect on achievements to promote respect for basic human rights and restoring human dignity in line with the Bill of Rights. During May, South Africans from all walks of life will be participating in the seventh National Elections since the dawn of democracy. Human Rights Month serves as a reminder of the ongoing commitment required to uphold and protect human rights for all South Africans, encouraging reflection, action and solidarity in the pursuit of a more just and equitable society. The Human Rights main event will be held on 21 March 2024, at the George Thabe Stadium, in Sharpeville, Gauteng.

The right to education is one of the paramount rights in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. The realisation of this right rests on the set of conditions established to achieve the right to quality education. The Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) Framework guides the sector on conditions necessary for the realisation of the right to quality education. Through the ten key CSTL pillars, the Department seeks to reduce all barriers to education for the full realisation of this right. The tenth pillar describes a Rights Based Socially Inclusive and Cohesive approach in schools, an approach that ensures every child receives a quality education where education promotes and respects each learner’s right to dignity and optimal development.

The Directorate: Social Cohesion and Equity in Education is tasked with the creation of conditions which give expression to Rights-Based Socially Inclusive and Cohesive Schools. Mr Likho Bottoman, Director for Social Cohesion and Equity in Education, in collaboration with Amnesty International South Africa, outlined the plans for the Department to strengthen the commitment to Human Rights in South African schools: “The Directorate, along with its partners, will host school-based dialogues in the Gauteng and Mpumalanga Provinces from 12 to 19 March 2024, whilst other provinces are encouraged to also follow the model. The list includes Witbank High; Willowmoore High; Pretoria Secondary and The Vaal High Schools; as well as Silverton Hoërskool respectively. The Dialogues involve School Management Teams (SMT), School Governing Bodies (SGBs) and Representative Council of Learners (RCL) and will address issues such as School-Related Gender Based Violence (SRBGV); Constitutional values; Respect; Positive Discipline; Discrimination; Racism; and other related intolerances affecting the right to quality education in schools,” he said.

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