Comments on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill
The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town (SCCT) is a registered NPO that perceives migration as an opportunity and is committed to fostering integration between migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, and South Africans. Our mission is to welcome, to protect, to promote and integrate mobile populations in local society. In providing assistance to mobile populations, we advocate respect for human rights and use a holistic approach that considers all basic needs. The SCCT works with asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants on a daily basis with obstacles many face to meaningfully contributing to society. We draw on this experience, along with relevant and contemporary research on migration to offer our input on the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill (hereafter ‘the Bill’).
While we agree with much of the Bill’s aims and proposals, our comments in this submission are focused on the impact some of the proposals will have on children whose documentation status is precarious. This is often the case with non-citizen children but also impacts large numbers of children who are South African citizens. Our submission first discusses the need to orient the proposed legislation to clarify that all children have the right to education, regardless of their documentation status. It then discusses the realities of documentation in South Africa and the very significant obstacles facing many non-citizens, and how this would impact the ability of their children to realise their right to education under some of the proposed amendments. It then provides input on specific proposals of the Bill.