20 July 2023
Joint statement: Equal Education and Equal Education Law Centre disappointed by the outcome of the Western Cape Provincial Schools Education Amendment Act (collaboration schools) matter in the Western Cape High Court
On Monday, 17 July 2023, the Western Cape High Court ruled on the regulation of collaboration schools, donor-funded schools, and intervention facilities introduced in the Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Act 4 of 2018 (the Amendment Act). We are disappointed that the Court did not find the case in Equal Education’s (EE) favour.
EE, represented by the Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), took the matter to court in 2019 because the introduction of collaboration and donor-funded schools—while they may be innovative education models—gives donors and private entities significant control of public schools in a way that undermines the principles of democratic governance and accountability. We were also concerned that the Amendment Act provided for the establishment of intervention facilities for learners found guilty of serious misconduct. This provision seeks to remove a learner from the formal education system and potentially separate those learners from their families and communities for up to a year.
EE has consistently advocated for regulatory frameworks that protect the best interests of learners. This formed the basis of our court challenge, which was specifically about the provisions in the Amendment Act around collaboration schools, donor-funded schools, and intervention facilities that were vague, inconsistent with the Constitution and in conflict with the South African Schools Act (SASA).
EE and the EELC are in the process of studying the judgment. We will issue another statement at a later stage once we have concluded our analysis, consulted with our membership and considered our options. Ensuring that new laws or changes to existing regulations are consistent with constitutional ideals will remain at the forefront of our work.