Accessing Information for Better Basic Education
This guide is designed to assist individuals, communities and organisations in the basic education sector with understanding and using the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) as a strategic advocacy tool to bring about the change needed to realise the right to a basic education.
While South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, with clear recognition of a range of socio-economic rights including the right to a basic education, it unfortunately remains one of the world’s lowest ranked countries for its overall quality of education.
Access to information can be used to address the challenges that are experienced in the education sector such as the problem of holding government and private sector contractors accountable for delivering infrastructure and support tools needed to ensure an adequate standard of basic education. PAIA can be a vital tool for individuals, communities and organisations that need to obtain information in order to fulfil their right to a basic education.
This guide, developed as part of a Basic Education Sector Workshop Programme hosted by SAHA in 2014, provides examples of how PAIA can be used to address challenges faced by the basic education sector, outlines the responsibilities of key public bodies in terms of these issues and provides contact details for making PAIA requests to those public bodies, and explains how to make PAIA requests. The guide also explains the most commonly claimed grounds for refusing access to information and possible grounds for appealing such refusals.