Social rights of the children in the context of HIV/AIDS : what is the reality in the new democratic South Africa?
Mpontshane, Nozipho Bethusile.
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South Africa's first democratic elections were held in 1994. Since then, the government has engaged itself in a process of reconstruction and development through the formulation of policies and legislation which are in line with the country‟s Constitution of 1996. Some of these policies and legislation pertain to the issue of children‟s human rights. This study, firstly, sought to analyze key South African policies and legislations related to children‟s rights that have emerged since 1994. These documents include, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996; the Children‟s Act 38 of 2005; Education White paper 6: Building an Inclusive Education and Training Systems (Department of Education, 2001), the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996; and the National Policy on HIV/AID for learners and educators in public schools and students and educators in further education and training institutions (1999). Secondly, the study aimed to explore whether children‟s rights are a myth or reality in South Africa by analyzing secondary data gathered from a large scale research project conducted in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, titled “Mapping the Barriers to Basic Education in the context of HIV/AIDS”. The data were collected from teachers, learners in grade 3, 6 and 9; School Governing Bodies, parents, and organizations - non governmental and community based organisations working in the district. The study used an in-depth qualitative case study approach. The study involved formal and non-formal centres of learning and their communities from four community contexts: rural, deep rural, urban and peri-urban. The data set provides insight into the lives of children in these contexts. The findings suggest that several barriers experienced by children and their families to accessing their social rights embedded in key South African policy documents related to key themes that emerged in the study: risks and vulnerabilities; control, regulation and powerlessness; the commitment of quality education not being met; and childhood poverty.
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