In this decision, the Florida Supreme Court held that a voucher program providing public funds to students to obtain private education failed to comply with article IX, section 1 of the Florida Constitution, which requires the state government to make adequate provision for education through a uniform system of free public schools. This decision confirms Florida’s constitutional obligation to provide high quality, free public education – a duty that cannot be discharged by funding unregulated private schools through a voucher or scholarship program. The decision is consistent with the principle that the State has the primary responsibility for ensuring that the right to education is upheld regardless of whether the provider is public or private, and that the State must ensure that private providers meet minimum educational standards.
In this decision, the European Court of Human Rights clarified States’ obligations regarding the freedom of parents to educate their children according to their religious and philosophical convictions as guaranteed by Article 2 of Protocol 1 (P1-2) to the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court found that compulsory sex education in public schools does not violate parental freedom.
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.
This monitoring guide is designed to help civil society organisations monitor education under attack from a human rights perspective. It will guide you through:
I: the importance of monitoring
II: give you advice on what to look for and how to collect data
III: provide you with a list of indicators you might want to look at
IV: give recommendations on how and who to report to when identifying violations of the right to education.
It is part of a series of thematic guidance notes providing practical advice on monitoring various aspects of the right to education from a human rights perspective. These guides are based on, and supplement, the Right to Education Initiative’s right to education monitoring guide, which provides a human rights framework for monitoring education and education-related issues, as well as our experiences across various monitoring initiatives that we have undertaken with partners from all over the world.
See also the sister publication: Education Under Attack: a guidance note for journalists and photographers
Changes in the media market after the end of the cold war, the development of new technologies and the hindering consequences of multiple economic crises have strengthened collaboration between journalists, photographers, videographers, and NGOs. Media reporting on conflict zones can play an enhanced role in helping civil society organisations (CSOs) to document attacks on education and CSO knowledge and connections could help journalists uncover important stories from the front lines.
This brief encourages a systematic collaboration focused on collecting and sharing data that may help advance the right to education in emergency situations. It is part of a Right to Education Initiative (RTE) series of briefs designed to help civil society organisations monitor and advocate for the right to education, such as the guide on Monitoring Education Under Attack from a Human Rights Perspective.