This is the second publication in a series devoted to elucidating key dimensions of the right to education. It addresses the cardinal requirement of the right to education – ensuring free and compulsory education for all.
This is a brief on MDG 2 (Achieve Universal Primary Education), with a focus on target 2.A (Ensure that, by 2015, all children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling). It highlights that quality education is a right, must be free and compulsory at least at the primary level, and must be a major part of the national budgets.
This report summarizes in 281 pages the shortcomings of global educational promises and then examines how the right to education fares in 170 countries. Developing and transitioning countries are divided into six geographical regions and 31 tables highlight the key findings derived from country-by-country surveys. The Report highlights the abyss between the domestic policies of wealthy creditor and donor governments which keep compulsory education free, and their external policies which have made it for-fee. All sources are indicated in 1,317 footnotes.
Abolishing School Fees in Africa is the product of a SFAI workshop, “School Fee Abolition: Building on What We Know and Defining Sustained Support,” held in Kenya in 2006. The book begins with a comparative overview of the processes, challenges, and lessons learned by five countries that had already abolished school fees: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Mozambique. The subsequent chapters delineate the actual experiences of each of the countries in planning and implementing their policies.
Education is held up as the key strategy to empower girls and break the cycles of poverty, to propel social and economic development in poor countries, and to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Many girls from poor families have little or no access to even a primary education, because the costs are beyond their families' means. In this information sheet Amnesty International calls o governments to eliminate direct and indirect fees for primary schools and take steps to make secondary schools accessible to all.
General Comment 11, adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, provides interpretation and clarification of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In this case, petitioners supported by the Colombian Coalition for the Right to Education filed a claim with the Constitutional Court of Colombia challenging a provision in the General Education Law (Law No. 115 of 1994), which allowed the government to impose fees for primary education. The Constitutional Court found that the provision of law that allowed the charging of fees for primary education was unenforceable and in violation of the Colombian Constitution and international human rights treaties. This decision reaffirmed that Colombian laws must be interpreted in light of the provisions of international human rights treaties, which have a superior standing. The decision also confirmed the fundamental nature of the right to free primary education.
La Observación General 11, adoptada por el Comité de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales, proporciona una interpretación y clarificación del artículo 14 de Pacto Internacional de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales.