Education is a fundamental human right of every woman, man and child. In states’ efforts to meet their commitments to making the right to education a reality for all, most have made impressive progress in recent decades. With new laws and policies that remove fees in basic education, significant progress has been made in advancing free education. This has led to tens of millions of children enrolling for the first time and the number of out of school children and adolescents falling by almost half since 2000. Important steps have also been taken with regard to gender parity and states have made efforts to raise the quality of education through improved teacher policies and a growing emphasis on learning outcomes.
Despite these efforts, breaches of the right to education persist worldwide, illustrated perhaps most starkly by the fact that 262 million primary and secondary-aged children and youth are still out of school. Girls, persons with disabilities, those from disadvantaged backgrounds or rural areas, indigenous persons, migrants and national minorities are among those who face the worst discrimination, affecting both their right to go to school and their rights within schools.
To respond to the challenges, the Right to Education Initiative (RTE) with UNESCO have developed this handbook to guide action on ensuring full compliance with the right to education. Its objective is not to present the right to education as an abstract, conceptual, or purely legal concept, but rather to be action-oriented. The handbook will also be an important reference for those working towards the achievement of SDG4, by offering guidance on how to leverage legal commitment to the right to education as a strategic way to achieve this goal.
The Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE, by its Spanish acronym) is a pluralistic network of civil society organizations with a presence in 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, which promotes social mobilization and political advocacy to defend the human right to education. This collection of articles, essays and statements reflect on the vital role of public education in the region and the fault lines exposed by the pandemic, considering both the challenges public education in Latin America faces and possible solutions, alternatives and ways forward.
In 2019, the French Constitutional Court (Conseil Constitutionnel) was seized by student unions and associations regarding public higher education tuition fees concerning international students from outside of the European Union. The plaintiffs argued that under paragraph 13 of the preamble of the French constitution, public higher education should be equally accessible to all and free. The Constitutional Court found that modest tuition fees in public higher education, where appropriate and depending on the financial capacity of students, do not go against the principle of equal access to education and the principle of free higher education. The right to education should ensure that access to higher education is financially possible for every student. Thus, limited tuition fees can be set by legislators under the control of the judicial system. Therefore, the Court states that the right to education of international students to access French public higher education system was not violated.
In working towards creating inclusive education systems, many countries have failed to address discrimination and exclusion on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and
variations of sex characteristics. This is despite the fact that, as new data from Europe show, 54% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex youth surveyed had experienced bullying in school and 83% had witnessed some type of negative remarks addressed to someone else based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or variations of sex characteristics. In many other parts of the world, conditions do not even allow such data to be collected. While several countries have begun implementing changes in laws and policies, school-level interventions, curricula, and parental or community engagement, others not only avoid addressing the issues but are even taking measures that further exclude. Governments aspiring to respect their commitment to the goal of equitable and inclusive education by 2030 must protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex learners, improve monitoring of school-based bullying and violence, and create a positive, supportive learning environment.
The new 2023 GEM Report on Technology in education: A tool on whose terms? addresses the use of technology in education around the world through the lenses of relevance, equity, scalability and sustainability.
It argues that education systems should always ensure that learners’ interests are placed at the center and that digital technologies are used to support an education based on human interaction rather than aiming at substituting it. The report looks at ways in which technology can help reach disadvantaged learners but also ensure more knowledge reaches more learners in more engaging and cheaper formats. It focuses on how quality can be improved, both in teaching and learning basic skills, and in developing the digital skills needed in daily life. It recognizes the role of technology in system management with special reference to assessment data and other education management information.
Education is a fundamental human right under international law. While it should be a right that everyone is entitled to, migrants face multiple challenges in the enjoyment of their right to education.
In the present report, the Special Rapporteur aims to understand these challenges and considers the de facto and de jure situation of the right to education of migrants around the world. Through an analysis of international and regional legal frameworks and more than 500 relevant documents authored by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations bodies, the report presents its major findings in terms of the 4As framework for the right to education: availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability, as well as in terms of cross-cutting issues related to identity.
The report identifies key issues to ensuring the right to education of migrants, including the capacities of public educational institutions, and challenges migrants face in accessing educational facilities and quality educational opportunities that take into account the specific needs of migrant groups.
The report proposes key recommendations to improve the protection and guarantee the full enjoyment by migrants of their right to education through the implementation of the 4As framework for the right to education.
This report shows how a student’s place of origin within France, that is, the region in which they live prior to the beginning of their studies, coupled with their socio-economic background can mean that the cost of education, which is heavily influenced by the structure of the French higher education system, poses a significant barrier to their enjoyment of the right to higher education.
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In her first report to the Human Rights Council, 25 years after the establishment of the mandate on the right to education, the Special Rapporteur reviews achievements, particularly on how the right to education is understood today and the obligations it entails, as well as contemporary and emerging issues that need to be considered to ensure the right to education for all, today and in the future.
This documented was submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education in February 2023, in response to a call for contributions for a report she is developing for the UN Human Rights Council.