The Constitution in the Classroom: Law and Education in South Africa 1994 - 2008
by Stu Woolman and Brahm Fleisch
ISBN: 978-0-9814124-5-0
Pages: 263
Print version: Available
Electronic version: Free PDF available

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About the publication

The law on education and educational practices in South Africa would exhaust the capacity of any meaningful monograph. Instead, the authors of this book engage six discrete topics that refl ect the broader currents and conflicts in South African education debates: (a) school choice; (b) school fees; (c) the right to an adequate basic education; (d) single medium public schools; (e) school governing bodies; and (f) independent schools. The book has two further aims. First: To move beyond the debates taking place separately in the education policy community and the legal academy, and to demonstrate how these disciplines, working in concert with each other, can advance our understanding of law and education in South Africa. Second: To show that the ANC’s complex education agenda must mirror the egalitarian, utilitarian, democratic, and communitarian commitments found within the Constitution. How these competing political claims refl ected in our basic law play themselves out in the enabling education legislation, the case law and government education policy, frames each topic assayed in this work.

About the editor:

Stu Woolman is the Academic Director at the South Africa Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law.
Brahm Fleisch
 is Associate Professor in the Division of Education Leadership and Policy Studies in Wits School of Education.

Table of Contents


  • 1. Introduction:  South Africa’s recent history of contested classrooms
  • 2. Quasi-markets and De Facto School Choice
  • 3. On the constitutionality of single medium public schools
  • 4. On the constitutionality of independent schools that promote a comprehensive vision of the good
  • 5. On the right to an ‘adequate’ basic education
  • 6. Democracy, Social Capital and School Governing Bodies
  • 7. Conclusion: On the constitutionality of school fees and the narrative arc of law and education in South Africa

Tables of Cases
Table of Statutes
Regulations and International Instruments

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