On Day of the African Child, Guarantee Quality Education for All

On Day of the African Child, Guarantee Quality Education for All


IN commemoration of the Day of the African Child, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) implores African governments to accelerate progress towards achieving universal and quality education for all children on the continent and to improve their welfare.

Initiated by the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union (AU), the Day of the African Child is celebrated annually on 16 June.

The day is a commemoration of the Soweto Uprising, which in 1976 saw some South African students stage a massive protest against education injustice and inequality during the reign of the apartheid regime.

On this day, ZLHR pays tribute to the South African children, who were murdered on 16 June 1971 in Soweto, while they were protesting for better education and the right to be taught in their native languages.

In 2024, the Day of the African Child is commemorated under the theme; “Education For All Children In Africa. The Time Is Now”.

The theme fittingly aligns with the declaration by African leaders, who in 2023 declared 2024 the “Year of Education” aimed at addressing some key issues relating to and inhibiting school attendance and learning and to implore on all governments to accelerate progress towards achieving quality education for all.

ZLHR is saddened that on the eve of commemoration of the Day of the African Child, the United Nations Children Fund, reports that African governments are not spending adequately to secure quality education for the continent’s children with most African countries being flagged out for not meeting their commitments to allocate the 20 percent of their national budget benchmark on education, as recommended by the Sustainable Development Goal framework for action for education.

Africa urgently needs massive investments in education to benefit children and help spur the continent to realise its transformation agenda.

African leaders must hasten to understand that education is both a human right in itself and an indispensable means of realising other human rights.

As an empowerment right, education is the primary vehicle by which economically and socially marginalised children of the continent can lift themselves out of poverty and obtain the means to participate fully in their communities and in their various countries.

In Zimbabwe, it is disheartening that 44 years after the attainment of independence and 11 years after the enactment of a new Constitution, which expressly guarantees the rights and freedoms of children including the fundamental right to education, children are still grappling with a myriad of challenges, which inhibit them from exercising and enjoying these liberties.

Apart from education deficiencies, Zimbabwean children grapple with several challenges including early marriages, sexual assault, stigma, lack of access to justice, poverty, discrimination, being chased away from school over unpaid fees and for wearing long hair and withholding of examination results among other challenges.

Government, which has a constitutional obligation to provide a basic-state-funded education to children should appreciate that basic education is an important socio-economic right directed, among other things, at promoting and developing a child‘s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to his or her fullest potential.

Moreover, basic education also provides a foundation for a child‘s lifetime learning and work opportunities and ultimately access to school becomes a necessary condition for the achievement of this right.

To guarantee the realisation and enjoyment of the right to education for all children and to promote the best interests of children, ZLHR implores government and other stakeholders to;

  • Ensure that the best interests of children are paramount in matters that concern children;
  • Adopt reasonable policies and measures that are designed to ensure appropriate and quality education, shelter, basic nutrition, health care and social services for all children;
  • Prioritise education, build resilient education infrastructure and systems;
  • Adequately finance education;
  • Implement concrete and emergency measures to fulfil the right to a basic state-funded education for children;
  • Adopt urgent measures designed to eliminate the harmful practice of child marriages.


Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Kodzero/Amalungelo House
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118
Email: info@zlhr.org