Is the right to education for children with disabilities in South Africa sufficiently protected, promoted and supported by the government?

Master Thesis


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Disability in South Africa is a complex issue to understand and address. Society is structured in such a way that ableism persists, creating ongoing challenges for minority groups such as those living with a disability. In the light of the above, this dissertation examines the right to education for children with disabilities. This dissertation has a narrowed focus, through a desktop study investigating legislation and policies addressing and supporting the right to education in South Africa. If the right to education is effectively addressed, it could lead to improved access to equality, dignity and freedom for children with disabilities, as enshrined in the Constitution. Civil society organisations have become increasingly involved in supporting and promoting the right to education for children with disabilities, to ensure that children with disabilities can and do access their basic rights, when government fails to provide for equitable realisation of this right. I propose that the government has accepted responsibility to meet its obligation1 to provide equal education opportunities for children with disabilities in South Africa through signing international and regional treaties but is ineffective in doing so. However, the pervasiveness of ableism is a major barrier to implement this obligation. As a result institutions such as civil society have been ‘required’ to fill the gap to avoid further marginalisation of children with disabilities and violation of their human rights.