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«Human Rights Watch defends the rights of people worldwide. We scrupulously investigate abuses, expose the facts widely, and pressure those with power ...»

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336 Job Access, “Creative Learnership,” http://www.jobaccess.co.za/info_jobid_443/creative_learnership.html (accessed March 24, 2015); Disability Workshop Development Enterprise, “Cashier Job available for Candidate with Disability Only”, March 20, 2015 https://www.placementpartner.co.za/wi/vacancy/?id=dwde&VacRef=CPT000013% (accessed March 24, 2015).

337 Human Rights Watch interview with the mother of a 15-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, focus group discussion hosted by Disabled Children’s Action Group, Cape Town, October 2014; Human Rights Watch interview with Bernard Lushozi, principal,

Albertina Sisulu Resource Centre, Soweto, Johannesburg, October 2014; Cape Mental Health, “UN CRPD Submission:

Inclusive Education,” undated, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/CRPD/DGD/2015/CapeMentalHealth.doc (accessed June 13, 2015).

73 HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH | AUGUST 2015 IX. Other Factors Limiting Inclusive Education Data Inconsistencies Governmental and nongovernmental data provide very different views of how many children with disabilities are out of school across the country.338 Nongovernmental organizations and service providers interviewed by Human Rights Watch strongly believed the government’s inability or unwillingness to release valuable data creates greater invisibility for children with disabilities and undermines the scale of the challenges, impacting resources available to fully implement inclusive education.339 Human Rights Watch’s research and the estimates of several organizations and experts focused on children with disabilities suggest that most currently available figures dramatically underestimate the number of children with disabilities who are out of school. A progress report on Education White Paper 6 published by the Department of Basic Education in May 2015 is a testimony to the wide variances and data discrepancies. Two different sections of this progress report carefully note that tackling access to education for 597,953 children with disabilities who could be out of school, and up to 829,474 children with disabilities who are of schoolgoing age, would be more efficient and cost-effective if the government invested in and prioritized inclusive education, rather than building more special schools.340 The Campaign to Promote the Right to Education of Children with Disabilities, among other groups, maintains that the number of children with disabilities out of school is above 500,000, based on previous baselines provided by the National Census and the Department of Social Development.341 338 Data analysed includes United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Department of Social Development and Department of Basic Education, “Situation Analysis 2011”; data provided by the Campaign to Promote the Right to Education for Children with Disabilities; Statistics South Africa, “Census 2011: Profile of persons with disabilities in South Africa,” Report 03-01-59, 2011, p. xii, pp. 80 -90, http://beta2.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report-03-01-59/Report-03-01-592011.pdf (accessed April 14, 2015); Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, “Baseline Country Report to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008-2012),” 2013.

339 Human Rights Watch interview with Robyn Beere, director,Inclusive Education South Africa, Cape Town, October 2014;

Human Rights Watch focus group discussion with members of the Campaign to Promote the Right to Education of Children with Disabilities, Cape Town, October 2014; Human Rights Watch interview with Section 27 team, Johannesburg, October 2014.

340Department of Basic Education, “Report on the Implementation of Education White Paper 6 on Inclusive Education. An Overview for the Period 2013 – 2015,” May 2015,”p. 19, Table 19, p. 69. In May 2015, in response to a letter and meeting with Human Rights Watch, the Department of Basic Education responded that only 30,000 children with disabilities were out of school. See Annex II.

341 Aarti Narsee, “Disabled kids let down by school system,” Times Live, September 25, 2014, http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2014/disabled-kids-let-down-by-school-system (accessed on January 8, 2015); Human Rights “COMPLICIT IN EXCLUSION” 74 Regrettably, despite enormous disparities in data, and more than half a million children with disabilities reported to be out of school, a few months before this progress report was presented to the National Assembly, the Minister of Basic Education also declared South Africa had reached the global development goal of reaching universal primary enrollment by

2015.342 The Minister of Education’s 2015 budget speech further reassured South Africa’s National Assembly that the Department “will build on our successes in attaining the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs) for access, participation, and gender equity.”343 It is imperative that the government, including the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Basic Education that oversees the government’s reporting on basic education priorities, knows how many children with disabilities are accessing schooling, how many remain or drop out of the education system, and how many children of compulsory school-going age are waiting for school placements.

Inadequate Funding

The government is going to be building more special schools. There’s a demand for it. There is pressure because of [the numbers of] out of school children… Funding should not be going to exclusion and contradicting “[Education] White Paper 6”.





—Vanessa dos Santos, president, Down Syndrome International, December 2014 344 Watch focus group discussion with members of the Campaign to Promote the Right to Education of Children with Disabilities, Cape Town, October 2014. Human Rights Watch interview with Section 27 team, Johannesburg, October 2014; Human Rights Watch

telephone interview with Patricia Martin, director, Advocacy Aid, October 2014; Patricia Martin, “Children’s Rights to Basic Education:

A Review of South Africa’s Laws and Policies, ” pp. 136-137 in P. Proudlock (ed), “South Africa’s Progress in Realising Children’s Rights: A Law Review (2014); Section 27, “Submission on the Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities in South Africa to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” March 2015, http://www.ci.org.za/depts/ci/pubs/pdf/researchreports/2014/Realising_childrens_rights_law_review_2014.pdf (accessed August 5, 2015), p. 6.

342 Department of Basic Education, “Education for All (EFA), 2014 Country Progress Report,” (2014), http://www.education.gov.za/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=m%2B%2F6vJCM%2FhU%3D&tabid=358&mid=1261 (accessed August 5, 2015) p. 30.

343 South African Government, “Minister Angie Motshekga: Basic Education Dept Budget Vote 2015/16. Theme:

“Repositioning Basic Education Sector for Accelerated Quality, Equity and Efficiency,” 6 May 2015, http://www.gov.za/speeches/minister-angie-motshekga-basic-education-dept-budget-vote-201516-6-may-2015-0000 (accessed May 18, 2015).

344 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Vanessa dos Santos, president, Down Syndrome International, December 2014.

–  –  –

Human Rights Watch found that the budget for special schools in the 2014-2015 academic year was 12 times larger than the budget for inclusive education.346 Similar analysis of investment in previous years indicates that greater resources have consistently gone into special school budgets347 with the consequence of “seriously compromising” the government’s inclusive education program, according to the government’s own appraisal.348 Data source: Department of Basic Education, 2014, “Progress Report on Inclusive Education and Special School, Portfolio Committee on Basic Education,” 23 June 2015; “Progress in the Implementation of Inclusive Education,” Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, 9 September 2014.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN expert body overseeing the implementation of international obligations related to these rights, has indicated that taking “positive action to reduce structural disadvantages to achieve the objectives of full 345 United Nations Human Rights Council, “Thematic Study on the right of persons with disabilities to education,” Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/25/29, December 18, 2013, para. 49, p. 13.

346 In its 2015 Progress Report, the Department of Basic Education notes the Northern Cape province has only provided Programme 4 [special schools] funding in 2014/2015; which could make this ratio higher. Department of Basic Education, “Progress Report on Inclusive Education and Special Schools,” presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, June 23, 2015.

347 The government’s report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that “In the 2012/2013 financial year only USD 57.8 million of the USD 68,750 million budget for inclusive education by provincial government departments was allocated for the expansion of inclusive education. The balance was for special school financing,” Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, “Baseline Country Report to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008-2012),” 2013, para. 243.

348 Ibid., para. 228.

“COMPLICIT IN EXCLUSION” 76 participation and equality … almost invariably means that additional resources will need to be made available for this purpose.”349 “Education White Paper 6” was initially launched with the understanding that the national government would allocate a national conditional grant by 2006, used to spur the implementation of national delivery of public services, to support the implementation of this policy.350 The national government has failed to allocate the grant despite this timeframe.351 Budget data presented to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, and in the minister of finance’s budget report for 2014-2015, shows wide disparities between the budgets allocated for inclusive education and special schools.352 Furthermore, independent analysis of the overall annual provincial budget votes shows that students with disabilities may only account for a maximum of 3 percent of total provincial spending in education.353 Within this already limited investment, special school budgets absorb the majority of provincial resources dedicated to students with disabilities.354 The Department of Basic Education’s September 2014 and June 2015 progress reports on implementation of its inclusive education policy suggest that investment in inclusive education continues to be low compared to provincial resources invested in special needs education,355 describing “poor budgeting for the expansion of inclusive education.”356 Moreover, investment in inclusive or general education for children with disabilities continues to be low or erratic in provinces most affected by historical underinvestment.357 349 UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “General Comment 5, Persons with Disabilities (1994),” E/1995/22), para. 9.

350 Department of Basic Education, “Education White Paper 6,” Section 4.4.12, p. 51.

351 Debbie Budlender, “Budgeting for Realising the Right to Basic Education for Children with Disabilities in South Africa,” unpublished independent study due to be released in July-August 2015.

352 Ibid.; National Treasury, Republic of South Africa, “Budget Review 2014,” February 26, 2014 http://www.treasury.gov.za/documents/national%20budget/2014/review/FullReview.pdf (accessed January 7, 2015).

353 Debbie Budlender, “Budgeting for Realising the Right to Basic Education for Children with Disabilities in South Africa,” unpublished independent study due to be released in August 2015.

354 Ibid.; Human Rights Watch interview with Legal and Policy team, Section 27, Johannesburg, May 2015.

355 Department of Basic Education, “Progress in the Implementation of Inclusive Education,” presentation by Mr HM Mweli to Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, September 9, 2014.

356 Department of Basic Education, “Progress Report on Inclusive Education and Special Schools,” presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, June 23, 2015.

357 Department of Basic Education “Progress Report on the Implementation of Education White Paper 6: 2001-2012,” presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, November 6, 2012, slides 75-76; Debbie Budlender, “Budgeting for Realising the Right to Basic Education for Children with Disabilities in South Africa,” unpublished independent study due to be released in August 2015.

77 HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH | AUGUST 2015 In 2014, five out of nine provinces had not yet allocated a budget for expanding inclusive education, even though the Department of Basic Education deemed it “is very critical in mainstreaming support for learners experiencing barriers to learning especially in fullservice schools.”358 According to the department, the provinces of Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, and Limpopo have never appropriated funding for inclusive education, “resulting in serious backlogs in the implementation of the policy.”359 There has been a gradual nationwide increase in budgets for special schools in all provinces and the number of new special schools is steadily increasing.360 According to the government’s progress report, the average cost of building a new special school amounted to R100 million ($9 million) in 2012. Investments in 25 new special schools that had been or were being built in 2012 amounted to R787 million ($71 million). In contrast, upgrading 358 Ibid.; Department of Basic Education, “Progress Report on the Implementation of Education White Paper 6: 2001-2012,” presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, November 6, 2012, slide 75.

359 Ibid., slide 67.

360 Ibid.

“COMPLICIT IN EXCLUSION” 78 infrastructure of 202 full-service schools, to accommodate students with physical disabilities, cost an estimated R821 million ($74 million).361

In 2015, the Department of Basic Education advised that:



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