The role of school social workers in giving effect to children’s right to education: A legal perspective
Social workers are not commonly employed in South African schools. However, various role players, policy documents and court findings directly or indirectly refer to the need for social services for learners. Teachers cannot fully provide this service, since they are neither trained to do so, nor have the time to fully support the psychosocial development of learners – and this could be detrimental to the pursuit of quality education. This conceptual article argues that, although not many social workers are employed by the Department of Basic Education, social services as such should be a high priority in basic education. Policy frameworks, legislation and case law provide sufficient evidence that there is a need for more social workers in South African schools. These professionals are a necessity in order to ensure that learners’ right to quality education is fully realised. The article also explains how school social workers could contribute to this quest for quality education, specifically, within the context of the 4A framework. The article concludes with an outline of what could be expected from school social workers within the 4A framework.