This factsheet is based on the report of the Special rapporteur on the right to education on the interrelations between the right to education and the rights to water and sanitation which intends to build a holistic approach on human rights, and highlights that rights to water and sanitation are prerequisites for the efficiency 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.
Member States are increasingly seeking ways and means to step up efforts to ensure their national systems and frameworks are aligned with international commitments and obligations in order to overcome challenges in the full implementation of the right to education and the realization of SDG4. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, strong national legal and policy frameworks that lay the foundation and conditions for the delivery and sustainability of free, inclusive, equitable and quality education in all contexts are essential for the effective implementation and enforcement of this key human right.
Through a hands-on approach, the Guidelines were developed with the aim to strengthen national frameworks by assisting countries and stakeholders in conducting an assessment of the compatibility of their national education legal and policy framework with international standard-setting instruments on the right to education, and in light of SDG 4 commitments.
In this general comment, the Committee emphasizes that the rights of every child must be respected, protected and fulfilled in the digital environment. This document is the result of a two-year consultation with States parties, inter-governmental organizations, civil society, national human rights institutions and children. Over 700 children and young people, aged between nine and 22 years old in 27 countries, were asked how digital technology impacts their rights, and what actions they want to see taken to protect them.
Articles pertaining to tthe right to education: 99-105
In the present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 8/4 and 44/3, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education considers the cultural dimensions of the right to education, which are crucial to ensuring that the universal right to inclusive and quality education is realized, as called for in Sustainable Development Goal 4. The Special Rapporteur calls for the right to education to be viewed as a cultural right – that is, as the right of each person to the cultural resources necessary to freely follow a process of identification, to experience mutually rewarding relations his or her life long, to deal with the crucial challenges facing our world and to engage in the practices that make it possible to take ownership of and contribute to these resources.
What is unique about this approach is its conception of educational life as a living relationship between actors (students, educators, organizations and other associated actors) and collections of knowledge that form shared cultural resources, vectors of identity, values and meaning, without which action is impossible.
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.
The efficient design and delivery of early childhood policies and services are critical to ensuring long-term learning opportunities and improved learning, behaviour, employment, and health outcomes amongst individuals. Research in neuroscience, developmental psychology and cognitive science has revealed that quality early childhood education, supportive communities and a positive family environment serve as important building blocks to promote healthy development amongst infants and toddlers.
The World Health Organization identified the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and by February 2021, two-thirds of LMICs were reported to have reduced their public education budgets (Education Finance Watch Report, 2021). Although many challenges to achieving full access to quality early childhood services existed before the pandemic, this finding dramatically reveals how the pandemic threatens to erode hard won gains already achieved for children and families, and could continue to have exceedingly negative impacts on child development, early learning, family well-being and all types of early childhood services.
The Global Partnership Strategy (GPS) for Early Childhood was created to counter this negative trend in education and to overcome the reduction and closure of services for health, nutrition, sanitation, and child protection in all world regions. Well designed and implemented policies and services for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and Early Childhood Development (ECD) enable all countries to protect and guarantee child rights, achieve high rates of return on their investments in child and family development and widen avenues for transforming societies and lives.