18 January 2014

A constitutional referendum was held in Egypt on 14 and 15 January 2014 and a new constitution was approved, which contains more detail on socio-economic rights, including education.

The new Constitution guarantees the right to education (Article 19) as well as related rights, such as the right to technical and professional training (Article 20), academic independence (Article 21), teachers’ rights especially professional development (Article 22), freedom of scientific research (Article 23), the right to early education up to the age of 6 and the prohibition of child labour until the completion of primary education (Article 80), the right to education of people with disabilities (Article 81), in addition to a commitment to eradicate illiteracy (Article 25).

The new Constitution improves the protection of the right to education. The 1971 Constitution (amended in 2007) only guaranteed compulsory education up to primary level. Article 19 of the new Constitution extends this to secondary level. Article 19 also guarantees education in accordance with global quality criteria and provides that the State shall oversee education to ensure that all public and private schools and institutes abide by its educational policies. Furthermore, Article 19 commits the Egyptian State to allocate no less than 4% of GDP on government spending on education, until it reaches global rates.

See Egypt’s new Constitution here, and an analysis of the fundamental rights here.