Reviewing the Role of South African Teachers in Successful Human Rights Education implementation in Public Schools


  • Ernest Mpindo Central University of Technology, Free State
  • Constance Mphojane Central University of Technology, Free State



Critical Emancipatory Research; Human Rights Education; peace education; Role of teachers; learners’ human rights.


Greater clarification is required regarding what human rights education (HRE) is, does, and implies as HRE becomes a more regular component of international policy talks, national textbook reform, and post-conflict educational practises. This article examines the role of teachers in a successful integration of HRE in various educational settings. This research adopted a qualitative interpretivist paradigm and Critical Emancipatory Research (CER) as a research framework. In light of its goal of fostering a culture that prioritises opportunities for lifelong learning for everyone, regardless of background, the study argues that CER lens is the most appropriate theoretical framework for tackling human rights education implementation in public secondary schools. In order to support peace education, HRE awareness, and social transformation in underserved communities, the application of HRE is critically examined in this study. The purpose of this study was to provide answers to the following questions: What are the present practises of human rights education in Lejweleputswa District public schools by teachers? What role do teachers play in implementing HRE successfully in South African public schools? And, under what circumstances can HRE be implemented in public schools? This article purposively sampled two secondary schools in Lejweleputswa District in the Free State Province in South Africa. The data was collected through focus group interviews that were digitally recorded and the data was analysed thematically and through member checking. The results of this study demonstrated that teachers need to be prepared before implementing HRE methodology. They need to be given more material, information on human rights education, norms and standards, as well as interactive teaching techniques. The study thus adds to the discussion on using HRE as a tool for peaceful education and a substitute for corporal punishment.