Undocumented learners must be admitted, court finds

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Eastern Cape High Court has ruled that all learners may be conditionally admitted to public schools despite not having all documentation.

The Basic Education Department noted the judgement by the High Court regarding the matter involving undocumented learners.

The judgment found that clauses 15 and 21 of the school Admission Policy for Ordinary Public Schools of 1998 are unconstitutional.

The judgment comes at a time when the department is busy with a review of the admission policy including the two provisions in clauses 15 and 21.

The requirements, which have been in use since 1998, stipulate which documents are required for learners to be admitted.

Clause 15 of the admission policy says a parent must present an official birth certificate of the learner to the principal of the public school.

If the parent is unable to provide the birth certificate, the learner may be admitted conditionally until a copy of the birth certificate is obtained from the regional office of the Department of Home Affairs.

Clause  21, which deals with admissions of non-citizens, says that persons classified as illegal aliens must, when applying for admission for their children or for themselves, show evidence that they have applied to the Department of Home Affairs to legalise their stay in the country in terms of the Aliens Control Act, 1991 (no.96 of 1991).

“The department will go through the judgment in detail and establish the extent to which it will assist the amendments that were already underway,” said Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.

The Department of Basic Education said it is already working with the Home Affairs Department, Centre for Child Law and the South African Human Rights Commission in addressing the issue. – SAnews.gov.za