The goal of a human rights-based approach to education is to ensure every child a quality education that respects and promotes her or his right to dignity and optimum development. This publication provides a comprehensive framework of strategies and actions necessary to translate children’s right to education and rights within education into legislation, policies and programmes for the attainment of Education for All.

The aim of this manual is to provide an easily-referenced, one-stop guide to rights-based education by explaining international human rights documents while drawing on numerous country-specific examples. It presents the key human rights as they relate to children, parents and governments, and the corresponding obligations, especially of governments, that must be met to fulfil those rights, while summarising and analysing the major human rights treaties and conventions from the perspective of education. Chapters include "Integrating Human Rights in Education: What and How", "Making Education Available", "Making Education Accessible", "Making Education Acceptable", "Making Education Adaptable", "Key Issue on the Micro Level", "Human Rights Questions on the Macro Level", "Looking Ahead", and "Bibliography". The manual is intended as a reference tool for policy-makers and practitioners in education.

 

This guide presents ideas and methodologies to put a human rights-based approach to education in practice. It focuses on six strategic areas that are central to (and provide a framework for) a HRBA to education including: understanding and securing the right to education working with excluded groups; financing education; promoting citizen participation in education securing rights in education; advancing a full "Education for All" agenda. Each section begins with a brief overview of key issues to be considered and then discusses a range of activities which could be developed within a scheme of work. Short practical examples are given, from a wide range of countries. The majority of the activities focus on work at the local level, but national and international links are also discussed. Within each section two or three areas are analysed in more detail.

Spanish

Este paquete desarrolla una serie de ideas y metodologías para poner en práctica un planteamiento de la educación basado en los derechos humanos. Se concentra en seis sectores estratégicos, que son esenciales para trabajar en educación con un planteamiento basado en los derechos humanos y que proporcionan un marco para este trabajo. Estos sectores son: Comprender y asegurar el derecho a la educación; Trabajar con grupos excluidos; Financiar la educación; Promover la participación ciudadana en la educación; Conseguir derechos en educación; Promover un programa completo de “Educación para Todos”. Cada capítulo empieza con una breve presentación de los aspectos más importantes a ser analizados y sigue con una explicación de las actividades que podrían realizarse dentro de un esquema de trabajo. También se incluyen ejemplos prácticos de numerosos países. La mayoría de las actividades se centran en el trabajo a nivel local, pero también se analizan los vínculos nacionales e internacionales. Dentro de cada capítulo, hemos escogido dos o tres áreas que se analizan con mayor detalle. 

 

The Joint Expert Group UNESCO (CR)/ECOSOC (CESCR) on Monitoring of the Right to Education in its Second Meeting in May 2004 stated that both the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention against Discrimination in Education (CADE) needed to be carefully examined in a comparative perspective. This should be guided by the General Comments and the Revised Guidelines of CESCR used for monitoring work and the new guidelines for monitoring the implementation of CADE. The Joint Expert Group noted that 83 States are parties to both the CADE and the ICESCR. There is thus the risk of overlaps in the work of the Committees (CESCR and CR) as well as of the States parties’ reports. It was therefore suggested that a document, “which brings out the common features as well as differences in CADE and ICESCR along with a chart of equivalent provisions and the States which are parties to both CADE and ICESCR” be prepared. The present document on the comparative analysis of Articles 13 and 14 of the Covenant and the Convention has accordingly been elaborated.

Key resource

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.

As the national government is the primary duty bearer for the right to education it is important for any report on accountability to start with the responsibilities of government. The paper provides an overview of the right to education legal framework to which States have legally committed, as well existing international and regional accountability mechanisms.

The paper then explores the connections between the 2030 Agenda, the Incheon Declaration, and human rights law. The Incheon Declaration affirms, ‘the vision and political will reflected in numerous international and regional human rights treaties that stipulate the right to education and its interrelation with other human rights” (para. 2). In the Declaration education is framed as both a “public good” and a “fundamental human right” (para. 5). However, whether a rights-based approached is consistent or present in the operationalisation of SDG4 has not been clearly debated. Part of this challenge is the diluted and often, overly simplistic notion of what the right to education entails. The paper seeks to better understand the similarities and differences of these two large global frames for education and includes a matrix that links the normative content of each framework. This matrix shows that the content of each is largely aligned, even if the processes are not. The paper argues that by recasting the content of SDG4 as part of the right to education, the legal obligations owed to that content can be invoked. This renders various elements of SDG4, if the state in question has legally committed to the right to education and incorporated the right to education in their domestic legal orders, amenable to adjudication by competent mechanisms, offering the possibility of legal accountability through legal enforcement.

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.

At the national level the incorporation and implementation of the right to education, as required by international treaties, requires at least three stages. Firstly, countries must translate their international legal commitment into concrete action to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to education. This includes the incorporation of the right to education into the domestic legal order, through the adoption of education laws and policies. Secondly, countries must secure the right to education as a justiciable right. Lastly, the justiciable right to education must be able to be adjudicated fairly through the judicial system. Whilst the first stage is completed at a near universal level by countries, the final two stages, essential for the fulfilment of the right to education, are achieved by significantly fewer countries. Even when justiciability is present, various barriers may be present that hinder the adjudication of the right to education. Understanding how countries move from incorporation to application and implementation is essential to understanding whether the right to education is truly realised in a country. Our analysis shows that legal enforcement, through mechanisms competent to hold duty-bearers legally accountable, has a positive impact on the realisation of the right to education. Furthermore, little is known about how the political, social, and cultural context of a country limits or enables the adjudication of the right to education. 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 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.