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Mora v. Bogota District Education Secretary & Ors

Mora v. Bogota District Education Secretary & Ors

Decision T-170/03 Colombian Constitutional Court, Decision February 28, 2003

Keywords: Transport, accessibility, adaptability, free education, Columbia, national level

A five year-old child of a low-income family was placed in a public school located in a neighbourhood different to that in which her family lived due to quotas in the schools close to her home. Her family claimed a violation of the right to education.

The Court ordered the Government to relocate the girl in a school close to her home, stating that if the right to education of the child is affected because of quota restrictions within the schools near her home, then the guarantee of this right is not effective. The quota system must take account of socio-economic factors. Quota assignments cannot be made in a mechanistic way just to "theoretically” fulfil the obligation to provide education to the population but must permit effective access to education.

In this instance, acknowledging the transport costs in getting the child to school, the Court held that the system did not take into account the mother’s lack of income and the time required to bring her daughter to the assigned school.