UNISA Advanced Short Course in Childrens rights

UNISA Advanced Short Course in Childrens rights

Advanced Programme in Children s rights (76959)



In relation to the background sketched above this SLP seeks to:

  • Inculcate a culture of rights based practice amongst professional persons, bodies and entities that have a direct or indirect working relationship with children.
  • To establish an advanced programme which caters for MIT knowledge generation and application in the field of children’s rights that draws from various disciplines to ground its theory. This seeks to satisfy the South African approach to national and millennium development goals.


Target group

Social auxiliary workers, child and youth care workers, youth development workers, educators and teachers, psychologists, social workers, social service professionals, police officers, nurses, paralegals, legal practitioners, correctional offices, members of the allied health professions, mental health practitioners, academics, home affairs officials, international organization for migration, probation officers, child justice practitioners, criminologists, victimologists, students and graduate professionals.

Admission requirements
  • Formal qualification at NQF level 7 or;
  • Successful completion of the Programme in Fundamental Aspects of Children’s Rights through Unisa.



The short learning programme is 12 months in duration. 2 compulsory and 1 elective module are offered in the first semester (or registration intake) and 2 elective modules in the second semester (or registration intake).

Language medium


Registration periods

Semester 1: Application and registration closes on the 27th of February 2024
Semester 2: Application and registration opens on the 5th of June 2024 and closes on the 14th of July 2024

Tuition method

Learning is exclusively online supported by workshops where appropriate

Kind of assessment

Formative and summative assessment occurs in all modules.

Children’s rights in the South African and international context: advanced perspectives (ADVCHA1)
Syllabus/Content Topics

The module content will comprise the following themes:

  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Impact of the CRC in Africa
  • United Nations framework for children’s rights
  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child Complaints procedure in terms of the CRC
  • Optional Protocol on Communications procedure
  • The use and value of the CRC in domestic courts
  • Socio legal aspects of the Convention
  • Rule of procedure for the Convention and optional protocols
  • United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty
  • United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules)
  • Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System
  • United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines)
  • General Comment 1 – 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • The children’s rights mandates of the African Union and United Nations – various themes
  • Exploration of cultural legitimacy in the CRC and African Charter
  • The African Charter on the Right and Welfare of the Child
  • The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights
  • African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  • Impact of the Charter in Africa
  • African Union framework for the protection of children’s rights
  • The use of the African Charter in domestic courts
  • Socio-legal aspects of the Charter
  • Judicial enforcement of socio-economic rights
  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child Complaints procedure in terms of the African charter
  • Children’s rights in African settings
  • Selected case law
  • Rule of procedure for the African Committee
  • General comment No 1 and 2
  • Aspects of human rights and impact litigation
  • Realising children’s rights through civil society
  • Realising rights through treaty mechanisms
  • Child participation
  • Advocacy and children’s rights
  • Monitoring, documenting and reporting children’s rights
  • Selected aspects of children’s rights: the rights of disabled children, gender rights, LGTBI rights, HIV/AIDS and rights protection, refugee law etc.
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa

9.OAU Convention governing Specific Aspects of the Refugee Problems in Africa.

Aspects of development and protection of children (ADVCHB2)
Syllabus/Content Topics
  • Stages of development and well-being of children.
  • Child protection in the context of child development with a focus on child development theories (cognitive, emotional and social).
  • Child protection in the context of children’s rights as articulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.


Commercial sexual exploitation of children: child pornography – advanced perspectives (ADVCHC3)
Syllabus/Content Topics
  • Paradigm perspectives on the meaning and interpretation of child pornography
  • Different forms and techniques of child pornography
  • Interfacing international and domestic law concerning child pornography and the impact of multiple legal responses
  • Service delivery, action plans and forensic investigation of child pornography


Aspects of international criminal law and children’s rights (ADVCHD4)
Syllabus/Content Topics
  • Introduction to the mainstreaming of child protection in international criminal law
  • Ad hoc International Criminal Tribunals and Child Protection
  • The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
  • Elements of Crimes under the Rome Statute
  • Child Protection and the Office of the Prosecutor
  • Child Protection and the Bench of the ICC
  • Child Witnesses
  • International crimes against child civilians
  • Offences that are dependent on the age of the victim:
  • Genocide: the forcible transfer of children from one group to another
  • Crimes against humanity: enslavement
  • Offences that are not dependent on the age of the victim:
  • Child victims of sexual offences
  • Child victim of general offences
  • International crimes against child soldiers
  • International Humanitarian Law and the Prohibition of Child Soldiering
  • Conflict classification and the prohibition of child soldiering
  • The enlistment of children
  • The conscription of children
  • The use of children
  • The emerging jurisprudence on child soldiering
  • The legal liability of children for international crimes
  • The ‘active agent’ versus ‘passive victim’ debate
  • Age of criminal capacity
  • Adult perpetrators who were child soldiers:
  • Legal liability during municipal prosecutions for international crimes
  • Procedural safeguards


Cyber-crime and the protection of children (ADVCHE5)
Syllabus/Content Topics

The legal framework for cybersecurity in South Africa, SADC, African Union and at an international level.

Children’s rights in comparative context (ADVCHF6)
Syllabus/Content Topics

This module relies on various international treaties, convention and protocols as well as South African domestic law. The module is specific to the country wherein the student resides or would like to conduct research. The module asks the student to compare the position in a jurisdiction of choice with regard to:

  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of a Child
  • Domestic Constitutions or statement of fundamental rights
  • Status issues and matters incidental thereto.


A criminological analysis of juvenile delinquency (ADVCHG7)
Syllabus/Content Topics
  • Conceptualisation of juvenile delinquency
  • Introduction to the causation of juvenile delinquency
  • Explore the different types of reaction to juvenile delinquency
  • Discuss the preventative strategies for juvenile delinquency


Children and status issues: advanced perspectives (ADVCHI9)
Syllabus/Content Topics

1. The concept of a child’s status in private law
2. Factors influencing a child’s status
3. Infans
3.1 Legal capacity
3.2 Capacity to act
3.3 Capacity to litigate
4. Minors
4.1 Legal capacity
4.2 Capacity to act
4.2.1 Agreements in respect of which a minor has full capacity to act
4.2.2 Agreements in respect of which a minor has limited capacity to act The legal implications of agreements binding on a minor The legal implications of agreements not binding on a minor
4.2.3 Agreements in respect of which a minor has no capacity to act
5. Selected aspects relating to children and their status
6. Delictual liability
7 An overview of a child’s status in criminal related matters
7.1 Criminal capacity of infans and minors in terms of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008
7.2 The impact of a child’s status in sexual offences and related matters in terms of the the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007
8. Status-related case law

Probation officers and children’s rights (ADVCHI8)
Syllabus/Content Topics
  • The Department of Social Development’s child protection mandate
  • The role of social workers in the protection of vulnerable children
  • The role of probation officers in the protection of vulnerable children
  • Probation
  • Probation Advisory Committee
  • Probation officers
  • Assistant probation officers
  • Child justice probation (duties in the child justice process)


Educators and children’s rights (ADCV14N)
Syllabus/Content Topics

In study unit one the legal framework of authority of educators and the specific child related duties of educators are discussed. In study unit 2, problematic areas in educator learner relationships are addressed. In study unit 3, the responsibility of the educator to create a safe school environment for the learner will be examined.

Selected aspects of child health care from the perspective of the medical practitioner and the health researcher (ADVC10J)
Syllabus/Content Topics
  • Duties of health care providers towards child patients

(considering the provisions of the Children’s Act and the National Health Act).

  • Ethical rules governing treatment of child patients
  • A brief consideration of the disciplinary procedures at the

Health Professional Council of South Africa for alleged unprofessional conduct.

  • Duties of health researchers towards children involved

in therapeutic and non-therapeutic research (considering the provisions of the Children’s Act and the National
Health Act

  • Ethical governing therapeutic and non-therapeutic rules research carried out on children
  • The relevant ethical guidelines of the South African Medical Research Council and the Health Professions Council of South Africa
  • Helsinki Declaration and specific provisions regarding research on children.
  • The ethical dilemmas raised by clinical drug trials involving children
  • Ethical issues in genetic testing and screening of children

• Potential liability of health care providers in the context of providing healthcare to child patients (consequences of disregarding a child’s consent or failure to obtain consent).
• Brief introduction to the possible liability of medical practitioners in actions on wrongful pregnancy, birth and life.

  • Criminal and civil liability in the context of treating children.
  • Potential liability of health researchers in the context of carrying out therapeutic and non-therapeutic research on children (consequences of disregarding ethical guidelines on human research).


Correctional service officers and children’s rights (ADVC11K)
Syllabus/Content Topics
  • The role of the Department of Correctional Services in child justice.
  • Children in remand custody.
  • Sentenced children in correctional centres
  • Overview of selected correctional phenomena


Course leader

Professor MG Karels and Professor R Songca
College of Law
Tel: 0124298350
Email: karelmg@unisa.ac.za

Programme administrator(s)

Ms S Ditshwene
Research Coordinator (CLAW)
Tel: 0124298389
Email: Ditshsm@unisa.ac.za
Mrs L Monnakgotla
Private Law
Tel: 0124298434
Email: Monnal@unisa.ac.za