These Guidelines are intended to assist Member States in the preparation of the Reports on the implementation of the 1960 Convention against Discrimination in Education (“the Convention”) as well as the 1960 Recommendation against Discrimination in Education (“the Recommendation”). The Convention and the Recommendation, adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in 1960, correspond to UNESCO’s constitutional mandate to “advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunities without regard to race, sex or any distinctions, economic or social”.

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.

Co-operation between UNESCO’s Committee on Conventions and Recommendations (CR) and The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) on the objectives for monitoring and promoting the Right to Education. 

"In our globalized world, education and the fight against discrimination remains a major issue. Thus discriminatory practices still exist today despite the fact that discrimination has no justification in international law.

Faced with this challenge, not only is education required to play an important role in the fight against discrimination, but access to all levels of education must be ensured systematically and without discrimination. This is one of the major issues involved in the right to education."

This commentary, written by Professor Yves Daudet and Professor Pierre-Michel Eisemann, eminent professors of the University of Paris I (Sorbonne), constitutes a detailed analysis of the text of the Convention. It highlights the scope—article by article—and the legal obligations of Member States, in referring to the process of preparatory work and debates between governmental experts on the basis of which the Convention was elaborated. This elucidation is imperative for normative action and for a better implementation of this Convention

This publication is a compilation of practical examples of measures taken by Member States in implementing the provisions of the Convention and the Recommendation against Discrimination in Education. It has seven chapters reflecting the main issues and components including in the Convention and Recommendation. It begins by presenting the legal framework adopted by States. This is followed by a presentation of measures taken for eliminating discrimination in and through education; promoting equality of opportunity and treatment in this field, across all levels of education and through inclusive education; supporting affirmative action; enhancing quality education; religious and moral education; and the rights of minorities and language of instruction.

The Expert Consultation on the Operational Definition of Basic Education, organised from 17 - 18 December 2007 at UNESCO, brought together eminent experts from different regions and further discussed a preliminary draft of operational definition that was initially proposed during the Experts’ Workshop on “Challenges and Perspectives of Law and Education” organised in Sao Paulo in December 2006.

This Consultation was part of UNESCO’s efforts to address the request by the Joint Expert Group UNESCO (CR)/ECOSOC (CESCR) on the Monitoring of the Right to Education and by experts during the “International Conference on the Right to Basic Education as a Fundamental Human Right and the Legal Framework for its Financing” (Jakarta, 2005), to initiate a reflection and dialogue process for the elaboration of an operational definition of basic education and to elaborate a definition that would be universally accepted and recognized.

In preparation for this meeting, UNESCO undertook a thorough analysis of recent policy and legal texts which illustrated the lack of linguistic consistency in the terms used to describe the initial stages of formal education (basic, elementary, primary, fundamental, secondary, basic learning needs, etc.). A Thematic Framework, prepared by the Secretariat of UNESCO presented the policy and international normative framework as well as the right to basic education in constitutions and national legislation. 

This publication comes in response to the Organization’s concern to bring its standard setting instruments into broader use, with the support not only of Member States as prime movers in that effort, but also of international organizations, decision makers, teachers, the intellectual community, and all the stakeholders of civil society. Readers of this publication will gain a better grasp of the standard-setting content of UNESCO’s instruments in the field of the right to education, and this will lend impetus to the international community’s efforts in that regard.

Like all human rights, the right to education imposes three levels of obligations on States parties: the obligations to respect, protect and fulfi ll. In turn, the obligation to fulfi ll incorporates both an obligation to facilitate and an obligation to provide. It is incumbent upon States to incorporate into domestic legal order their obligations under conventions and treaties established by the United Nations and UNESCO and to give effect to these in national policies and programmes. In order to achieve Education For All, it is imperative to intensify UNESCO’s normative action and monitor more effectively the right to education.

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