This report provides analysis of legal minimum ages for education, marriage, employment and criminal responsibility across 187 countries and raises questions regarding the cross-section of these issues and their effect on the right to education. Based on States Parties’ reports to the CRC Committee and analysed through the lens of the 4As, the report stresses the fundamental importance of eliminating contradictory legislation and practices that still undermine the right to education.
 
This report analyses national legislation on the duration of compulsory education and legal safeguards against adult responsibilities infringing on children's education. It shows that children's right to education is under threat from early marriage, child labour and imprisonment. The key question which this report addresses is concordance or discord among different ages at which
children should be - or can be - in school, at work, married, or taken before a court and/or in prison. The relationship between school, work, marriage and criminal responsibility should be addressed within child-rights policy in individual countries. However, few countries have elaborated this as yet. Moreover, minimum and maximum ages tend to be set by different laws and are often mutually contradictory. Inconsistency between compulsory education and the full range of children's rights risks jeopardising the full development of the child’s personality, the key aim of education in human rights law.
Year of publication: 
2004
Author(s): 
Right to Education Project/ UNESCO-IBE/Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency/Angela Melchiorre
Resource type: