This step will help you identify some of the key problems in the State’slaws and policies that may be having a detrimental effect on the full realisation of the right to education, through the analysis of the data you gathered in Step 3.2.

Firstly, this step will help you identify whether the data for your selectedstructural indicators reveals that there is a problem with the State’s commitment to the right to education.

Secondly, this step will provide you with guidance on how to interpret, in light of relevant human rights standards, the shortfalls you may have found in theprocess indicators when benchmarked (see Step 3.3).

Finally, this step will help you identify specific problems in the policies and implementation patterns that the government is undertaking to realise the right to education.

3.4a Interpret data for structural indicators

After you have identified deprivations and inequalities in the enjoyment of the right to education, the first thing you should look at is the commitment of the State to the right to education, using structural indicators. This is because a lack of commitment could be the reason why enjoyment is unacceptably low. For example, it may be the case that a contributing factor for low levels of enjoyment of primary education is that no laws or policies exist to address the obstacles that prevent access for marginalised groups.

You should also review relevant constitutional provisions, legislation and policies in order to identify gaps in the protection the right to education, as well as inconsistency with international human rights law, as illustratedhere.

Legal analysis is particularly helpful in identifying cases wherediscrimination is entrenched in law, for instance when the law specifies that schooling will be provided exclusively in the language of the majority, not allowing linguistic minorities the opportunity to learn in their own language which is shown to have a detrimental impact on the development of the child.

Moreover, legal analysis in areas such as the family code (egminimum age for marriage) and labour laws (eg discriminatory practices in salaries or working conditions for women) could help identify laws that, although not specific to education, may actually have a detrimental effect on girls’ access to school.

A useful source for identifying gaps in existing legislation and policies regarding the right to education is thefinal observations and recommendations made by UN human rights mechanisms, as shown inthese illustrations.

3.4b Interpret data for process indicators

In Step 3.3, you will have identified those process indicators for which your country has the largest shortfall relative to a suitable benchmark.

At this stage, you can analyse those shortfalls in light of the relevant human rights standards and make a preliminary determination as to whether a violation of the right to education has occurred. As mentioned in What to Monitor?, this requires an analysis of whether the State has breached its legal obligations when applied to the normative content of the right to education.

The normative content of the right to education is derived from human rights instruments. However, right to education provisions tend to be broad, for example: “Primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all”. This provision does not elucidate the form of education, its quality, or whether local authorities can charge for textbooks, school meals, transportation, etc.

There are a number of ways courts, quasi-judicial bodies and other stakeholders have conceptualised and determined the normative content and scope of the right to education. The most common and widely used (including by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) is the4As framework, developed by Katarina Tomaševski.

The following table illustrates how to link your findings from the previous two steps with the normative content of the right to education in order to determine whether a violation has occurred:

The 4As Framework

Process Indicator

Shortfall Relevant to Benchmark

Human Rights Issue


Percentage of schools that have a shortage of classrooms

A high percentage of schools that have a shortage of classrooms

Problems in the availability of education inputs (classrooms, teachers, textbooks) may affect the quality of education

Teacher absenteeism rate

A high teacher absenteeism rate

Pupil / textbook ratio

A high pupil / textbook (average number of pupils per textbook in schools)


Percentage of the population for whom school-house distance is more than 5 km

A high percentage of the population for whom school is farther than 5km

Problem in the physical accessibility of schools

Percentage of household expenditure on education

A high percentage of household expenditure on education

Problem in the economic accessibility of schools

Are reasonable accommodation measures available for children with disabilities in mainstream schools?

A high percentage of schools that fail to reasonably accommodate the needs of disabled students

(eg they are designed and built in ways that make them inaccessible to wheelchairs)

Problem in the physical accessibility of education for children with disabilities


Percentage of trained teachers

A low percentage of trained teachers (as a percentage of the total number of teachers at the given level of education)

Problem in the quality of education

Percentage of teachers not belonging to minority groups or trained in minority culture or languages

A significantly low percentage of teachers not belonging to minority groups, or trained in minority culture or languages, may contribute to a lack of cultural adaptability of education to the needs of children belonging to minority groups

Problem in the cultural appropriateness of education


Are there special measures to include child labourers in education and find solutions for them and their families?

A failure to adapt schools' schedules during harvest seasons in rural areas or to make non-formal schooling available for child labourers may hinder their access to education

Problems in the adaptability of the education system to suit locally specific needs and contexts

Are there mobile schools for children of nomads?

Lack of mobile schools for children of nomads may prevent children of nomads from enjoying the right to education

Analysing government policies meant to address access to education for marginalised groups

Governments often adopt policies to improve access and retention of children from marginalised groups, such as providing scholarships, free textbooks or school meals to disadvantaged children.

The following are some suggestions that can be helpful to assess whether the manner in which your country has implemented such programmes has been inadequate:

  • Identifying inadequate coverage

It is relatively simple to assess the coverage of a programme aimed at addressing obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to education: compare the number of people covered by the programme with the number of people affected by that specific demand-side obstacle. For instance, if a scholarship programme meant to offset the costs of education is reaching only 10% of the poor families not sending their children to school, then the programme coverage is patently insufficient.

  • Identifying underfunded programmes

An international comparison can show whether spending on a programme aimed at addressing a demand-side obstacle is sufficient. This is done by a double comparison of the resources devoted to a specific programme with those spent on similar programmes in other comparable countries of the same region, related to levels of the deprivation that the programmes are meant to address. For example, seehere.

  • Measuring whether programme benefits are unfairly distributed

Analysing distribution of the benefits of a programme aimed at boosting demand by group (eg indigenous / non-indigenous, poor / non-poor) or location (eg provinces or municipalities) and contrasting them with levels of deprivation that programme is supposed to address across the same groups or locations, can help identify unfair distribution patterns that benefit people who do not need these programmes the most.

Seek additional information

To interpret some of the data you obtained in Step 3.2 and Step 3.3, you may need to obtain additional information. For instance, if you found that the least qualified teachers are concentrated in the poorest areas you may want to get information on whether there are any incentives for more qualified teachers to go to poorest areas and, if there are such incentives, how they compare with similar measures in other countries of the same region. If you found that there are a high number of reported incidents of discrimination against children because they or their parents are HIV-positive or against teachers who are HIV-positive, you may want to research whether it is because of a lack of appropriate legislation or the lack of enforcement of relevant legislation.


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