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This advocacy factsheet is based on Right to Education Project report At What Age…are school-children employed, married and taken to court? Trends over time (2011), which provides analysis of legal minimum age 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. The factsheet has been developed to be used by civil society organisations to advocate for improving legislation regarding the minimum age for marriage and the minimum age for leaving school.  It gives a brief overview of the issue of early marriage and its impact on education, highlighting statistical data, good practice in law and policy, as well as case studies. It also provides tools and policy recommendations and suggests concrete actions to be taken. It aims at encouraging activists and organisations to monitor the minimum age for marriage and the minimum age for leaving school and to advocate for improving the legislation when needed.

This paper aims to provoke a constructive influential debate on juvenile justice, moving beyond proposals to move the minimum age of criminal responsibility up or down by a year or two.

 

This report offers findings, analysis and recommendations to end child marriage, including through education.

The report documents how child marriage prevents girls and women from participating in all spheres of life and how the practice violates their rights, including the right to education. It is based on in-depth interviews with 80 girls and women in six districts in southern and central Malawi. Interviews were also conducted with government officials, magistrates, child protection workers, police officers in charge of child protection, social welfare officers, traditional and religious leaders, health workers, teachers, legal and women’s rights experts, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations, the United Nations, and donor organizations.
 
The report describes factors contributing to child marriage, the severe consequences of child marriage, the risks that girls face when they resist these marriages, and the abuses they frequently face in marriage. It also examines the absence of protection for victims of child marriage and the many obstacles they face in attempting to obtain redress; as well as shortcomings in existing programs to combat child marriage.
 
The report reviews Malawi's laws and international obligations on child marriage as well as on the right to education and makes concrete recommendations to the Malawi government.
 

The government of Malawi should increase efforts to end widespread child and forced marriage, or risk worsening poverty, illiteracy, and preventable maternal deaths in the country.
According to government statistics, half of the girls in Malawi will be married by their 18th birthday, with some as young as age 9 or 10 being forced to marry. Malawi faces many economic challenges, but the rights of girls and women, including the right to education, should not be sacrificed as a result.

 

 

 

 

 

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.
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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. The annotated version contains excerpts from State reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
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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.

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