Working in the best interests of our children

Quality education is necessary if all children are to enjoy the rights they are entitled to in the Constitution. It is also a crucial tool for ensuring the reduction of poverty, inequality and unemployment, and empowering learners to reach their full potential despite the presence of persistent disadvantages. Yet, education is faced with serious challenges, especially in rural areas and provinces such as the Eastern Cape, where much of the LRC’s work is carried out.

The LRC represents learners, parents, communities, teachers, schools and NGOs, many in rural and impoverished communities, in compelling the state to honour its obligations in terms of the Constitution and the right to basic education.

The LRC has advocated for legislative reform and changes to education policy, worked with government to draft regulations and develop policy, and engaged with public servants to improve mechanisms for faster delivery of educational materials, furniture, transport and infrastructure. We have successfully litigated in an attempt to overcome resource and administrative obstructions in the provision of quality education.

Many of the cases the LRC has taken up in recent years have resulted in important developments in the jurisprudence around the right to basic education and, in particular, our work has contributed directly to giving substantive content to the right to basic education in the Constitution.

The direct and material impact of our work on education in South Africa has also been significant. This has assisted us to promote the right to education and share our knowledge, experience and skills regarding the justiciability of all socio-economic rights at an international level.

Over the past few years we have supported peer organisations undertaking education litigation in Kenya, Uganda, Hungary and India. We are currently working alongside the Special Rapporteur for Education to identify opportunities to use the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Pan-African Parliament and other bodies to challenge states that are failing to provide all their citizens with equal access to quality education.

The LRC has also engaged in field research for a contribution to a comparative analysis of strategic litigation in India, Brazil and South Africa.