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This paper was commissioned by the Section for Basic Education for the Final Evaluation of the Implementation of the International Plan of Action for the United Nations Literacy Decade
(UNLD): Education for All as background information to assist in drafting the Report of the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to be
submitted to the UN General Assembly at its 68th session. It explores literacy from a human rights perspective.

The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 8/4 and 26/17, is devoted to lifelong learning and the right to education. The Special Rapporteur sheds light on the vision and concept of lifelong learning and highlights the emergence of the 'right to learning', intertwined with the right to education and training as a social right. He also examines state responsibility, along with that of other social partners, for its realisation and underlines the key importance placed on lifelong learning in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Special Rapporteur also looks at the special role that devolves upon technical and vocational education and training for skills development and analyses the issues in financing lifelong learning. Finally, the Special Rapporteur offers a set of recommendations with a view to promoting learning as a right and its pursuit from a lifelong learning perspective, in keeping with state obligations as set out in international human rights instruments.

Over the past two decades, a set of globally converging discourses on lifelong learning (LLL) has emerged around the world. Driven mostly by inter-governmental organisations, these discourses have been largely embraced by national and local education systems seeking to reflect local traditions and priorities. This paper argues that these discourses tend to look remarkably alike, converging into a homogeneous rationale in which the economic dimension of education predominates over other dimensions of learning, and in which adaptation takes pre-eminence
over social transformation as a goal of LLL. It also shows how these converging discourses are embedded in the logic of the knowledge economy, driven by concern for human capital formation as dictated by the changing demands of the global labour market, and can neglect the learning needs and interests of local communities. The paper concludes that the globally converging discourse of LLL tends to serve the interests of the market ahead of those of the community, and argues that an alternative characterisation of LLL, anchored in social justice, is necessary in the light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and especially Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

The Special Rapporteur believes that non-formal education programmes provide flexible, learner-centred means to improve education outcomes. This is particularly relevant for girls and groups in vulnerable situations, including children with disabilities, minorities and rural and impoverished children, who are disproportionately represented among out-of-school populations. When designed to be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable, such programmes enable states to fulfil the right to education of learners who are excluded from the formal system. Furthermore, such programmes can promote holistic learning objectives that support cultural and linguistic rights.

In a unique collaboration with UNICEF, Minority Rights Group International reports on what minority and indigenous children around the world face in their struggle to learn. This report profiles the programmes that are being developed to help them – from better bilingual education to meeting the needs of nomadic populations – giving examples of what works and why. It describes efforts to overcome exclusion so that education is available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable for minorities and indigenous peoples, and shows how far there is still to go.

The World Education Report 2000’s focus on education as a basic human right is a fitting choice for the International Year for the Culture of Peace. Education is both a human right and a vital means of promoting peace and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms generally. If its potential to contribute towards building a more peaceful world is to be realised, education must be made universally available and equally accessible to all. The report aims to contribute to a better international understanding of the nature and scope of the right to education, of its fundamental importance for humanity and of the challenges that still lie ahead to ensure its full implementation

This report tells the stories of some of the world’s 6.4 million refugee children and adolescents under UNHCR’s mandate who are of primary and secondary school-going age, between 5 and 17. In addition, it looks at the educational aspirations of refugee youth eager to continue learning after secondary education, and examines the conditions under which those who teach
refugees carry out their work.

Education data on refugee enrolments and population numbers is drawn from UNHCR’s population database, reporting tools and education surveys and refers to 2016. The report also references global enrolment data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics referring to 2015. 

The Washington Supreme Court ruled that an Act establishing and funding charter schools as common schools was unconstitutional. The Court held that charter schools are not ‘common schools’ under Article IX of Washington’s Constitution. Thus, the use of funds restricted by the Washington Constitution to support common schools under the Act was unconstitutional. Also, because the funding provisions were integral to, and not severable from, the Act, the Court held the Act to be unconstitutional in its entirety.

Of the 57 million children worldwide without access to education, over one third lives in settings of conflict and fragility (UNESCO, 2015). The escalating crisis in Syria has contributed significantly to this out-of-school population, with well over half of 1.4 million Syrian refugee children and adolescents not in school (UNICEF, 2016). While education in emergencies has risen as a policy priority in the mandates of international organizations (Menashy and Dryden-Peterson, 2015), the share of total overseas development assistance to education has declined sharply in recent years, with funding persistently low in conflict-affected states (UNESCO, 2015; 2016). Within this context, private sector engagement in education has become increasingly appealing to a growing portion of the international community. Private actors have responded in turn, spurring new initiatives, funding commitments and partnership arrangements to advance the cause of educating refugee children. Such commitments are indicative of the growing role of private entities as both educational funders and providers in contexts of crisis. This study explores the complex interrelationship between conflict and private sector participation through a case study of the education of Syrian refugees. It is estimated that 900,000 Syrian refugee children and adolescents are not enrolled in school, with enrolment rates for Syrian refugees at only 70% in Jordan, 40% in Lebanon, and 39% in Turkey (UNHCR, 2016b).  Although private engagement in this context is evidently expanding, the exact nature and scale of this involvement has been unclear. This research seeks to better understand which private entities are engaging in the sector, the activities through which private companies and foundations support education, and the rationales and motivations that drive their involvement.

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