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Human Rights and Equality in EducationComparative Perspectives on the Right to Education for Minorities and Disadvantaged Groups$
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Sandra Fredman, Meghan Campbell, and Helen Taylor

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447337638

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447337638.001.0001

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The challenge of Afrikaans language rights in South African education

The challenge of Afrikaans language rights in South African education

(p.71) Five The challenge of Afrikaans language rights in South African education
Human Rights and Equality in Education

Michael Bishop

Policy Press

This chapter explores how the unique South African context affects the way one evaluates the right to own-language education of the White Afrikaans minority. International human rights law affords linguistic minorities the right to education in the language of their choice. However, for one particular minority community, the Afrikaners, the protection of that right is complicated by South Africa's history of racial inequality, particularly in the area of education. As such, the chapter argues that it is not possible to apply the ordinary principles concerning minority languages to Afrikaans. However, that does not mean that Afrikaners are not entitled to some protection for their language. Rather, it requires looking for compromises and innovative solutions that acknowledge both the position of privilege built on a history of racial discrimination and the legitimate demand for protecting Afrikaans-language education.

Keywords:   South Africa, own-language education, White Afrikaans, linguistic minorities, Afrikaners, racial discrimination, Afrikaans-language education

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