The right to education is universal and does not allow for any form of exclusion or discrimination. However, both developing and developed countries face challenges guaranteeing equal opportunities to all in accessing education and within education systems. Marginalised groups are often left behind by national educational policies, denying many people their right to education.

Although thinking about groups can be helpful, the distinction is somewhat artificial. People who are marginalised are very likely to be subject to multiple layers of discrimination, that is, they belong to more than one marginalised group.

Non-discrimination and equality are key human rights principles that apply to the right to education. States have the obligation to implement these principles at national level. National laws can prohibit discrimination and create an environment enabling greater equity. Furthermore, affirmative action and promotional measures are often necessary in order to eliminate existing inequalities and disparities in education.

The UNESCO video below explains what the data tells us about the marginalised groups of children who are excluded from education.