Adding Skills • Adding Knowledge • Advancing Rights
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela
All children have the immediate right to education in terms of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. Yet, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) excludes more than 500 000 learners with disabilities from schools (DBE 2015).
The WCFID represents special care centers that accommodate some of those marginalised learners who have severe or profound intellectual disability.
In 1997, the WCFID initiated a Right to Education Campaign that culminated in legal action (2007), supported by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC). View campaign summary.
In 2010, the High Court of the Western Cape ruled that the Government of South Africa (1st Respondent) and the Government of the Western Cape (2nd Respondent), had violated the rights of these learners to a basic education. The judgement continues:
“2) The respondents are directed forthwith to take reasonable measures (including interim steps) in order to give effect to the said rights of severely and profoundly intellectually disable[d] children in the Western Cape, including (but not limited to):
2.1 ensuring that every child in the Western Cape who is severely and profoundly intellectually disabled has affordable access to a basic education of an adequate quality;
2.2 providing adequate funds to organizations which provide education for severely and profoundly intellectually disabled children in the Western Cape at special care centres, such as to enable them to:
2.2.1 have the use of adequate facilities for this purpose;
2.2.2 hire adequate staff for this purpose;
2.3 providing appropriate transport for the children to and from such special care centres;
2.4 enabling the staff of such special care centres to receive proper accreditation, training and remuneration and
2.5 making provision for the training of persons to provide education for children who are severely and profoundly intellectually disabled.’’
View judgement: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAWCHC/2010/544.pdf
Implementation of the Court order
View outcome: National Government
Department of Basic Education
DBE Roundtable to enhance government services for children with to profound intellectual disability. View report here.
Persons with severe to profound intellectual disability (SPID) are more at risk of getting severe Covid-19. The Forum contributed to the Africa Vaccine Alliance submission to the COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Council (MAC), to advocate for centre staff vaccination to limit transmission to children at centres. View report here
All principals/supervisors of special education care centres / 24 hour facilities, for people with severe or profound intellectual disability, meet once every quarter to discuss questions. A special focus is on governance, compliance and organizational management.