22 December 2021

Over two days in early December, UNESCO held an International Seminar on the Evolving Right to Education to celebrate the organisation’s ongoing work on the futures of education, and to present the first stage of the UNESCO Futures of Education initiative - the report Reimagining our futures together: a new social contract for education.

The purpose of the event was to bring together different actors to develop their views on the multiple and evolving dimensions of the right to education, and to ensure that this right is better enforced in the present and into the future. 

During the publicly available opening session on Tuesday 7 December, at which 146 people were in attendance, our Director Delphine Dorsi reflected on the need to protect and strengthen the protection of the right to education in international legal frameworks, highlighting the centrality of education financing to education provision and the protection of the right to education. 

She went on to discuss five particular dimensions on the right to education which must be given particular attention, among them distance and digital learning, pre-primary education, lifelong learning, the role of non-state actors in education, and climate change and environmental education. 

Her comments developed upon the contribution to UNESCO’s Futures of Education Initiative, submitted in October 2021 and published here, and can be seen from 1hr43 minutes in the following video:

The second session was closed to the public, but involved members of UNESCO, representatives of national ministries, academics, and civil society. Three members of the Right to Education Initiative team joined around 100 participants in the second day of the seminar, whose parallel sessions focused on lifelong learning entitlements; the right to early learning; right to digital learning; right to education of vulnerable groups; right to higher education; and human rights through education.

The Right to Education Initiative is pleased to have formed part of this important discussion at a key turning point for the evolution of the right to education, and thank UNESCO for facilitating such crucial conversations.