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Right to education not guaranteed in Copac draft
National Students Union (ZINASU)
August 02, 2012
importance of education and the need for it to be guaranteed by
a nation's supreme law, many countries in Africa and elsewhere
have enshrined the right to education in their constitutions. Taking
a step in the right direction, the Copac final draft
attempted but failed to fully guarantee the right to education in
the bill of rights.
The draft begins
by making a commitment to education in the National Objectives section,
but as this is not enough to guarantee the right to education it
goes on to state in the bill of rights that 'every citizen
and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to (a) a basic state
funded education, including adult basic education, and (b) further
education, which the state through reasonable legislation and other
measures, must make progressively available and accessible'
Had the draft
ended there it would have been good, but it proceeds to put a clause
within the above-mentioned section which maintains that the state
is only to provide for the right to education 'within its available
It is clear
that by putting this clause, the state seeks to provide itself with
a backdoor through which to escape when questioned on its inability
to fully guarantee the right to education.
is an unacceptable limitation of the above-mentioned right and should
be removed; it only serves to provide the state with an easy way
to abdicate its responsibility.
Some may argue
that ours is a developing country with limited financial resources
- though we have an abundance of natural resources -
thus it is necessary to put a clause that limits the right to education
to availability of resources, but with reference to this, let me
be quick to point out that other developing countries such as Ghana
and Zambia (2012 draft constitution) do not attempt to limit this
right by clauses similar to the one in the Copac draft.
It is saddening
to note that the draft only makes use of the clause limiting a right
to resources available to the state in terms of education and health
but does not do so in terms of the right of war veterans to claim
the history of government extravagance and overspending, one can
be forgiven for thinking that the main motive behind this clause
is to limit resources to education in order to leave more money
for government officials to channel towards their insatiable profligate
appetites such as acquiring expensive vehicles and making costly
foreign trips on a regular basis.
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