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Publication Details

Reference
Vally Salim & Spreen, Carol Anne  (2006) Education Reforms and Education Rights: How policies continue to create inequality in South Africa
Centre for Civil Society  Colloquium on the Economy: 1-27.

Summary
Abstract:
Reflecting on the recent violent deaths of four learners during community demonstrations and the growing protests over the cost of education, we situate our analysis of post-apartheid education developments in the context of deepening poverty and inequality. A decade after the first democratic elections many communities have grasped a fact that seems to elude education policy analysts: progress (or the lack thereof) in schools cannot be divorced from poverty and its consequences. We argue that education reform is situated within a policy frame that privileges cost recovery and fiscal austerity measures linked to a self-imposed structural adjustment programme. We show how the introduction of user fees and the burden of other costs have rendered abstract the idea of education as a ‘right’. We also question the constitutional and legislative romanticism surrounding the rights-based discourse and encourage a re-conceptualisation of human rights in education. Finally we champion the resurgence of social movements as essential agents for democratisation, educational transformation and human rights in South Africa.

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