This publication begins with the need to dismantle prevalent misconceptions because they hinder the advancement of education as a human right. Those conceptual obstacles which are particularly widespread are tackled, and their dark sides highlighted. This publication strives to provide food-for-thought because there are reasons for denying that education is a human right and these have to be brought into the open and countered effectively.
This practical toolkit on the right to education was published by Amnesty International in collaboration with the Right to Education Initiative. It is part of the Haki Zetu handbook series on economic, social and cultural rights, developed by the Special Programme on Africa of Amnesty International Netherlands.
It contains sections on understanding the right to education and on taking action, with a particular focus on Africa – providing concrete examples at national and regional levels and reference to relevant laws and policies. It is to be used in conjunction with the Main Book of the series, which provides general information on ESC rights.
Both the Main Book and the practical toolkit on the Right to Education have been developed for local civil society organisations working with local communities to realise the right to education. The tool seeks to assist community workers to better study laws and policies and promote the monitoring of the right to education.
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.
L'éducation est un droit humain fondamental pour chaque femme, homme et enfant. Ces dernières décennies, de nombreux États désireux de faire du droit à l’éducation une réalité ont fait d’impressionnants progrès. Avec l’entrée en vigueur de nouvelles lois et politiques supprimant les frais liés à l’éducation de base, l’enseignement gratuit gagne du terrain. Des dizaines de millions d’enfants ont donc fait leur entrée à l’école et le nombre d’enfants et adolescents déscolarisés a été presque divisé par deux depuis 2000. Des mesures importantes ont également été prises en ce qui concerne la parité des genres et les États se sont appliqués à améliorer la qualité de l’éducation en optimisant les politiques relatives aux enseignants et en mettant l’accent sur les résultats d’apprentissage.
Malgré tous ces efforts, le droit à l’éducation est encore régulièrement enfreint. Preuve marquante s’il en est, 262 millions d’enfants en âge de fréquenter l’école primaire et secondaire ne sont pas scolarisés. Les filles, les personnes handicapées, les personnes défavorisées ou venant des zones rurales, les autochtones, les migrants et les membres des minorités nationales sont les plus touchés par des discriminations qui nuisent aussi bien à leur accès à l’éducation qu’à leurs droits dans les écoles.
Pour répondre au défi, l’UNESCO et l’Initiative pour le droit à l’éducation (Right to Education Initiative, RTE) ont mis au point ce manuel orientant les actions permettant de garantir le droit à l’éducation. Son objectif n'est pas de présenter le droit à l'éducation comme une notion abstraite, conceptuelle ou purement juridique, mais plutôt de conduire à l'action. Ce manuel sera utile à ceux qui agissent pour la réalisation de l’ODD 4, car il fournit des conseils stratégiques sur la manière de mettre à profit les engagements juridiques en faveur du droit à l’éducation pour atteindre cet objectif.
On July 12, the United Nations Human Rights Council reaffirmed its recognition of the Abidjan Principles on the right to education, urging States to act against commercialisation of education, and requested the UN to work with the Global Partnership for Education to implement it.
This statement, signed by 25 civil society organisations, highlights the connection between GPE, which is the main multilateral funding organisation for education, and human rights. It stresses that collaboration between GPE, as a harmonised funding body, and UNESCO and OHCHR, as human rights and policy organisations, could be essential to ensure that human rights are translated from commitments to effective education programming. In particular, UNESCO recently designed a series of tools to support States in addressing the right to education in educational planning and management, which could help bridge this gap. The signing organisations will be engaging with these institutions and are committed to working with them to support the practical use of the right to education in education sector planning and implementation, in accordance with the resolution.
RTE's background paper for the Global Education Monitoring Report 2017/8: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments.
The purpose of the paper is to show how a human rights-based approach offers insights and practical solutions to address the accountability deficits found in both education policy decision-making and implementation, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Specifically, the paper argues that a human rights-based approach to accountability can bolster public policy accountability by defining the responsibilities of authorities, ensuring they are answerable for actions regarding those responsibilities, and how they can be subject to forms of enforceable sanctions or remedial action for failures to carry out those responsibilities.
The second half of the paper explores the prevalence of the right to education in national laws and the conditions necessary for the right to education to be successfully adjudicated at the national level. It provides an overview of how countries have incorporated the right to education in their domestic legal orders, as well as a list of countries where the right to education is justiciable. This is complemented by a series of case studies that draw out the requirements for successful adjudication at the national level.
This paper examines court cases from countries around the world to identify the conditions that enable the right to education to be realised through adjudication.
This documented was submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education in February 2023, in response to a call for contributions for a report she is developing for the UN Human Rights Council.