Schools Need To Create An Inclusive Environment For All Learners


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School uniforms are what tell us which school a learner belongs to, it’s more than a piece of fabric but it is identity. The manner in which a Cape Town learner has dressed, sparked debates around school dress codes and policies that'll create an inclusive environment for every learner.


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A learner wearing a dress to school in Cape Town is at the centre of what most educationalists and education activists are talking about. 

However, Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said they are not giving out specifics of the schools, due to learner confidentiality, which prohibits the department from singling out a child to both the media and the public.

WCED has confirmed that there had previously been no guidelines or policies for schools to follow to support transgender learners in the Western Cape or in any other Province in this country. 

The department has highlighted that some School Governing-Bodies (SGB) have addressed this issue through their diversity/ inclusivity policies.

Hammond also stated as a department, they will need to assist all schools in creating a more inclusive environment for all learners, regardless of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

Hammond said WCED is currently engaging with the school in terms of the processes to follow with regard to this specific case and is supporting the process.

An Equal Education representative has shared how changing codes of conduct in schools will in fact be in line with the Constitution of South Africa. 

In an ENCA live interview, the director of the Equal Education Law Centre, Tshegofatso Phala, discussed: 

The codes of conduct in schools need to start complying with the constitution, while school governing bodies can create their own codes of conduct and put in what they want to put in schools. 

Phala also urged that this change ought to take place, not to only align with the constitution but to also protect children's gender identity.

Phala had also touched on how as an organisation they are welcoming policies around guidelines on sexual orientation and gender identity being drafted.

The WCED published a Draft of Guidelines on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in Public Schools in the Western Cape Education Department.

To access the Western Cape Education Department’s Gender Policy, click here.

The department is calling any person or organisation who wishes to comment on it, to do so.








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