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.

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These Guidelines were developed to assist countries wishing to assess the compatibility of their national education laws and policies with international standards. The booklet aims to provide guidance on national education legal and policy frameworks.

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. 

The Right to Education Index (RTEI) is a global index built out of the international right to education framework to monitor national progress towards its fulfillment. It reveals key areas in need of improvement, offers country-to-country comparisons, and tracks progress over time. Ultimately, RTEI seeks to:

  • Strengthen the expertise and capacity of civil society and education advocates.
  • Increase public and political support for realizing the right to education.
  • Hold governments and institutions accountable for their commitments to the right to education.
  • Uphold the right to education for every child and adult everywhere.

The RTEI has been piloted in five countries (Chile, Nigeria, the Philippines, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe). The Right to Education Index Pilot Report discusses overall findings of the 2015 pilot, comparative issues across Governance and the 4 As (Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability, and Adaptability), select transversal themes such as teachers, private education, and costs of education, and country-specific findings and recommendations from RTEI country partners.

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.

This guide, issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), focuses on how civil society can follow up on recommendations of United Nations (UN) human rights mechanisms and mandates or bodies.

The Education at a Glance OECD Indicators report provides in depth analysis, across a range of indicators, of the state of education in all 35 OECD countries, as well as in a selection of partner countries. The full report is available to view below, and each individual section can also be downloaded as a PDF, here.

While many authorities can tolerate some traditional campaigning methods, it is usually harder to ignore the law. As part of broader campaigns, the law can be a powerful tool for achieving the changes that children need. Legal advocacy is now being used systematically in a few countries – leading to strong outcomes for children – and it has great potential for wider use.

There are many occasions for legal advocacy. International law sets out the principles and standards that states are obliged to meet but frequently do not, and so their domestic law violates children’s rights. Often, a state meets a standard in domestic legislation but its policy fails to implement the law. Sometimes, it is unclear what a law means in practice, or the meaning is clear but no one knows whether it is being implemented. These various gaps between international legal standards, domestic law and state policy (or corporate policy) present potential opportunities for legal advocacy.

There are also many avenues for legal advocacy. It is a broad term, not limited to taking rights violators to court. Many small-scale legal activities can enhance traditional campaigning, such as reporting on the implementation of a law, or raising awareness of what the law says. Sometimes, simply documenting and publicising the gaps between law and practice is enough to persuade decision-makers to act. But only sometimes. Towards the other end of the spectrum is work that demands more time and resources, including taking a government or corporation to court in order to bring broader social change. A successful case might improve the legal standards that apply to children, or lead to a major policy change of long-term benefit to children.

This introductory guide offers a brief overview of avenues for legal advocacy. It also offers guidance on how to explore your options, and how to promote legal advocacy work with other children’s rights advocates.

The report focuses on the legal obligations of states and private entities to mobilise all resources at their disposal, including those that could be collected through taxation or prevention of illicit financial flows, to satisfy minimum essential levels of human rights and finds that states who facilitate or actively promote tax abuses, at the domestic or cross-border level, may be in violation of international human rights law.

The report is based on a detailed examination of UN treaty bodies and special procedures’ views on the current interpretation of the scope and content of this obligation to mobilise resources. Further, it is published against the backdrop of increased awareness of the relationship between economic policies and human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which committed all UN member states to ‘strengthen domestic resource mobilization, including through international support to developing countries, to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection’ and ‘significantly reduce illicit financial flows’.

In this video, David Archer explaines how right to education indicators have been applied in Nepal, where local communities have used the resource pack "Promoting Rights in School" to monitor the right to education through a participatory method.

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