Religious freedom, reasonable accommodation and the protection of the conscience of learners in South African public schools


  • Georgia Alida du Plessis


South Africa, education, religion, conscience, pluralism, discrimination, constitution, reasonable accommodation


South Africa under apartheid practiced a policy of Christian National Education, teaching children within a narrow framework of religion and values. Post-apartheid, the government has worked to balance equality and pluralism. Problems easily arise in the educational sphere when parents object to the content of required courses. The principle of reasonable accommodation provides guidance in such situations. The practice and implications of reasonable accommodation may be found in legal precedent. Reasonable accommodation requires flexibility of both parties in a dispute. It demands not equality of outcomes across all cases, but rather that all parties be treated with equal respect and consideration.