The Expert Consultation on the Operational Definition of Basic Education, organised from 17 - 18 December 2007 at UNESCO, brought together eminent experts from different regions and further discussed a preliminary draft of operational definition that was initially proposed during the Experts’ Workshop on “Challenges and Perspectives of Law and Education” organised in Sao Paulo in December 2006.

This Consultation was part of UNESCO’s efforts to address the request by the Joint Expert Group UNESCO (CR)/ECOSOC (CESCR) on the Monitoring of the Right to Education and by experts during the “International Conference on the Right to Basic Education as a Fundamental Human Right and the Legal Framework for its Financing” (Jakarta, 2005), to initiate a reflection and dialogue process for the elaboration of an operational definition of basic education and to elaborate a definition that would be universally accepted and recognized.

In preparation for this meeting, UNESCO undertook a thorough analysis of recent policy and legal texts which illustrated the lack of linguistic consistency in the terms used to describe the initial stages of formal education (basic, elementary, primary, fundamental, secondary, basic learning needs, etc.). A Thematic Framework, prepared by the Secretariat of UNESCO presented the policy and international normative framework as well as the right to basic education in constitutions and national legislation.