SDGS as a framework for realizing the right to education of the girl child in South Africa: challenges and possibilities
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) replace the Millenniums Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 and therefore become the most recent universal yardstick for ending poverty and hunger by 2030. The issues of gender and education are central to addressing poverty, particularly of the girl child, who often faces the well-chronicled developmental obstacles in the form of cultural norms and institutions. Yet, apart from other goals which indirectly link to the girl child, goals number four and five specifically pertain to quality education and gender equality, thus presenting a model for removing barriers and benchmarking commitment to SDGs as it relates to the girl child at the national level.
South Africa has one of the most vibrant constitutions of the world which provides for the rights to equality before the law and education in sections 9 and 29 respectively in its 1996 Constitution. There are existing legislation and policies to ensure the implementation of these provisions. However, existing scholarship on equality and education have largely only addressed the implications of the provisions for the realization of the girl child education from the constitutional framework. Owing to the fact that the SDGs are only recently adopted, very little analysis is available on how its framework can address the barrier of cultural norms and institutions underlying gender inequality and uneven access to education which the girl child faces in South Africa. This article examines SDGs as a framework for the right to education of the girl child, and in so doing, reveal the prospects and challenges associated with its use for that purpose in South Africa.
Keywords: equality, girl child, right to education, SDGs