RIGHT TO EDUCATION
Right to Education
Right to Education has been formally recognized as a human right since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This has since been affirmed in numerous global human rights treaties, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1981). These treaties establish an entitlement to free, compulsory primary education for all children; an obligation to develop ...view middle of the document...
More than ever today, children need a good quality education and training if they are to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the labour market.
The ILO (International Labour Organisation) has estimated that some 165 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour. Many of these children work long hours, often in dangerous conditions.
As part of this research, I will be providing a case study of five countries. I will illustrate how each of these countries that have signed up to the UN convention on the Rights of a child are recognizing the right or denying it. I will be focusing on three countries in the OECD and two developing countries, one from Asia and one from Africa.
CASE 1 – Finland
Finland, one of the Nordic countries presents one case where primary education is a free public service. After independence, the challenge for the government was to guarantee primary education to all children, because for them education has been seen as an important instrument of social ascent and personal development.
CASE 2 – Belgium
In Belgium, primary education is free to all. But in 1997, charges were introduced to education in Belgium. They were authorized with a provision that a non-payment of these expenses may not constitute a motive for refusal of registration, or of exclusion. These ‘expenses’ were defined to explicitly exclude enrollment or tuition fees because education should remain free. The charges were for admission to swimming pool, purchase of school magazine, excursions, transportation, textbooks etc.
CASE 3 – Netherlands
In Netherlands, like Belgium, primary education is free to all. Some schools, however, may require a parental contribution, but they may not refuse to admit a child whose parents cannot or will not pay. Important changes in government itself have had a large impact on private and public sector schools. These changes are decentralization, cutbacks, deregulation and privatization.
CASE 4 – Kenya
The right to Education has been guaranteed under the constitution, but it lacks implementation.
CASE 5 – India
Right to Education is guaranteed under the constitution. Its implementation starts from June 2011.
WHY THESE CASES?
Finland, Netherlands and Belgium
Within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the education is free and a variety of governmental subsidies reduce private costs of raising and educating children. Denial of access to education on the grounds of poverty should not be tolerated is a corollary of the commitment rhetorically shared by all OECD governments to ensure that all children are well educated. Its translation into practice requires keeping education free so that all children can go to school, and keeping it compulsory so as to force the three principal actors (parents, children and government) to ensure that all school age children and young people actually complete the...