Education and Religion in South Africa: Policy Analysis and Assessment against International law
Erika Mariane Serfontein

In view of the educational and societal reconstruction and transformation South Africa had to undergo since it became a democracy in 1994, the relationship between religion and education is a contentious issue. Policy regarding this relationship has since been subjected to a complete renovation that developed into the National Policy on Religion and Education in 2003. This Policy is evaluated by using two yardsticks, namely (a) international developments concerning the religion-education relationship with special emphasis on international jurisprudence and (b) the South African Constitution as the supreme law in this country which explicitly guarantees everyone the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought and belief. It was found that international experiences regarding contemporary policies on religion and education’s problems with regard to guiding the youth in identity formation applies especially to the South African context as it, less than many other countries, can afford to squander the role of religion as building material of social capital. It moreover became apparent that the Policy places a substantial limitation on the religious practices of learners as it, inter alia, fails the test of tolerance for diverse religious beliefs as envisaged by the SA Bill of Rights

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