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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Access, adequacy and equality: the constitutionality of school fee financing in public education
Author:Roithmayr, DariaISNI
Year:2003
Periodical:South African Journal on Human Rights
Volume:19
Issue:3
Pages:382-429
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:constitutions
1996
social and economic rights
education fees
Abstract:This article explores the question of whether charging school fees for public education in South Africa violates s29 or s9 of the South African Constitution. The article concludes that fees may be unconstitutional for two reasons. First, charging school fees may violate learners' rights to basic education under s29, because a fee-based financing system creates problems with both access and adequacy. Despite the availability of exemptions for the poor, the school fee regime of financing appears to completely bar access for some learners, and unconstitutionally burdens the right to access for others by requiring families to expend significant portions of their income on fees. In addition to problems with access, fee-based school financing may also violate s29 because this model of financing fails to provide a substantively adequate core level of basic education. Fee-poor districts cannot adequately fund school needs through fees, and government currently does not provide sufficient State funding to remedy the shortfall. Second, under the guarantee of equality in s9, charging school fees may violate the Constitution because fees discriminate on the basis of race and class. A school's ability to charge fees - and to provide a learner with greater funding and resources - appears to correlate strongly to the class and race of the community in which the school is located. Research indicates that the practice of charging school fees appears to reproduce apartheid-era disparities in expenditures per learner between poor black learners and middle and high-income white learners. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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