Co-operation between UNESCO’s Committee on Conventions and Recommendations (CR) and The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) on the objectives for monitoring and promoting the Right to Education.
RTE's background paper for the Global Education Monitoring Report 2017/8: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments.
The purpose of the paper is to show how a human rights-based approach offers insights and practical solutions to address the accountability deficits found in both education policy decision-making and implementation, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Specifically, the paper argues that a human rights-based approach to accountability can bolster public policy accountability by defining the responsibilities of authorities, ensuring they are answerable for actions regarding those responsibilities, and how they can be subject to forms of enforceable sanctions or remedial action for failures to carry out those responsibilities.
As the national government is the primary duty bearer for the right to education it is important for any report on accountability to start with the responsibilities of government. The paper provides an overview of the right to education legal framework to which States have legally committed, as well existing international and regional accountability mechanisms.
The paper then explores the connections between the 2030 Agenda, the Incheon Declaration, and human rights law. The Incheon Declaration affirms, ‘the vision and political will reflected in numerous international and regional human rights treaties that stipulate the right to education and its interrelation with other human rights” (para. 2). In the Declaration education is framed as both a “public good” and a “fundamental human right” (para. 5). However, whether a rights-based approached is consistent or present in the operationalisation of SDG4 has not been clearly debated. Part of this challenge is the diluted and often, overly simplistic notion of what the right to education entails. The paper seeks to better understand the similarities and differences of these two large global frames for education and includes a matrix that links the normative content of each framework. This matrix shows that the content of each is largely aligned, even if the processes are not. The paper argues that by recasting the content of SDG4 as part of the right to education, the legal obligations owed to that content can be invoked. This renders various elements of SDG4, if the state in question has legally committed to the right to education and incorporated the right to education in their domestic legal orders, amenable to adjudication by competent mechanisms, offering the possibility of legal accountability through legal enforcement.
The second half of the paper explores the prevalence of the right to education in national laws and the conditions necessary for the right to education to be successfully adjudicated at the national level. It provides an overview of how countries have incorporated the right to education in their domestic legal orders, as well as a list of countries where the right to education is justiciable. This is complemented by a series of case studies that draw out the requirements for successful adjudication at the national level.
At the national level the incorporation and implementation of the right to education, as required by international treaties, requires at least three stages. Firstly, countries must translate their international legal commitment into concrete action to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to education. This includes the incorporation of the right to education into the domestic legal order, through the adoption of education laws and policies. Secondly, countries must secure the right to education as a justiciable right. Lastly, the justiciable right to education must be able to be adjudicated fairly through the judicial system. Whilst the first stage is completed at a near universal level by countries, the final two stages, essential for the fulfilment of the right to education, are achieved by significantly fewer countries. Even when justiciability is present, various barriers may be present that hinder the adjudication of the right to education. Understanding how countries move from incorporation to application and implementation is essential to understanding whether the right to education is truly realised in a country. Our analysis shows that legal enforcement, through mechanisms competent to hold duty-bearers legally accountable, has a positive impact on the realisation of the right to education. Furthermore, little is known about how the political, social, and cultural context of a country limits or enables the adjudication of the right to education. This paper examines court cases from countries around the world to identify the conditions that enable the right to education to be realised through adjudication.
Este documento ofrece una visión concisa y útil del derecho a la educación, en particular en el contexto del actual debate constitucional en Chile.
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.
L'éducation est un droit humain fondamental pour chaque femme, homme et enfant. Ces dernières décennies, de nombreux États désireux de faire du droit à l’éducation une réalité ont fait d’impressionnants progrès. Avec l’entrée en vigueur de nouvelles lois et politiques supprimant les frais liés à l’éducation de base, l’enseignement gratuit gagne du terrain. Des dizaines de millions d’enfants ont donc fait leur entrée à l’école et le nombre d’enfants et adolescents déscolarisés a été presque divisé par deux depuis 2000. Des mesures importantes ont également été prises en ce qui concerne la parité des genres et les États se sont appliqués à améliorer la qualité de l’éducation en optimisant les politiques relatives aux enseignants et en mettant l’accent sur les résultats d’apprentissage.
Malgré tous ces efforts, le droit à l’éducation est encore régulièrement enfreint. Preuve marquante s’il en est, 262 millions d’enfants en âge de fréquenter l’école primaire et secondaire ne sont pas scolarisés. Les filles, les personnes handicapées, les personnes défavorisées ou venant des zones rurales, les autochtones, les migrants et les membres des minorités nationales sont les plus touchés par des discriminations qui nuisent aussi bien à leur accès à l’éducation qu’à leurs droits dans les écoles.
Pour répondre au défi, l’UNESCO et l’Initiative pour le droit à l’éducation (Right to Education Initiative, RTE) ont mis au point ce manuel orientant les actions permettant de garantir le droit à l’éducation. Son objectif n'est pas de présenter le droit à l'éducation comme une notion abstraite, conceptuelle ou purement juridique, mais plutôt de conduire à l'action. Ce manuel sera utile à ceux qui agissent pour la réalisation de l’ODD 4, car il fournit des conseils stratégiques sur la manière de mettre à profit les engagements juridiques en faveur du droit à l’éducation pour atteindre cet objectif.
Member States are increasingly seeking ways and means to step up efforts to ensure their national systems and frameworks are aligned with international commitments and obligations in order to overcome challenges in the full implementation of the right to education and the realization of SDG4. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, strong national legal and policy frameworks that lay the foundation and conditions for the delivery and sustainability of free, inclusive, equitable and quality education in all contexts are essential for the effective implementation and enforcement of this key human right.
Through a hands-on approach, the Guidelines were developed with the aim to strengthen national frameworks by assisting countries and stakeholders in conducting an assessment of the compatibility of their national education legal and policy framework with international standard-setting instruments on the right to education, and in light of SDG 4 commitments.