28 February 2014

Access to information workshop for the basic education sector

The South African History Archive's (SAHA) Freedom of Information Programme (FOIP) will be inviting participants to an access to information workshop for the basic education sector on 25 March 2014. The workshop is the first of a three part series of workshops planned for the basic education sector in 2014.

The series of education sector workshops are a continuation of previously successful sector workshops hosted by SAHA over the past couple of years through the generous support of the Open Society Foundations and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

The workshops for the basic education sector is built on a programme of collaborative access to information workshops developed by FOIP for civil society organisations, to increase awareness and capacity to obtain information required for evidence-based advocacy in critical sectors, including transitional justice, and the housing and LGBTI sectors in South Africa. Similarly to the previous access to information workshops for those sectors, an associated publication will be produced, as part of ensuring the continued impact of the workshop for the education sector.

The workshops will be tailored to issues identified by organisations promoting and advocating for improved basic education. The access to information workshop aims to:

• give an understanding of how the right to information can be utilized as an enabling right that can help in the realization of other human rights in the education sector
• provide an understanding of the context and legislative framework for accessing information under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA)
• discuss areas of need for information in the basic education sector, such as comparative data, and identify sources of that information
• as part of active learning, make a request for information under PAIA
• give guidance on the next steps in the PAIA process of making requests for information, such as internal appeals
• share practical tips on seeking information, including alternative action where information is denied
• enable the exploring of opportunities with peer organisations to collaborate and advocate on critical basic education issues
• provide access to the PAIA Civil Society Network as a potential mechanism for ongoing peer support
• introduce the online PAIA Request Tracker, a tool that members of the PAIA Civil Society Network use to submit and track PAIA requests.

At this stage an estimated 20 to 30 representatives from different basic education sector organisations, based in different geographical corners of South Africa, are expected to attend.

If you would like to be invited to attend these workshops please contact SAHA's FOIP programme at foip@saha.org.za