The Right to Education

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The Right to Education – A Global Perspective

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Nelson Mandela
This saying of Nelson Mandela reveals a lot about the importance of education as a mean of achieving the changes we want to see in the world. Realizing the importance of education is highly significant for the nation and the world as a whole; however, giving equal education opportunities to people within specific countries and around the world remains a challenge for the global society. In order to overcome, or at least ease, such challenges, the right to education has been a subject of matter of international law, as well as state constitutions. While a great number of countries have been signatories and ratifiers of international conventions that protect the right to education, many countries have failed to provide the essential capacities to assure this right for various reasons. The failure to protect this right, no matter the reasons, has been quite harsh for the most vulnerable groups of different societies; hence, leaving millions of people worldwide without the capacity to contribute to a better world. As such, this paper will firstly focus on the protection of this right by international law, and it will later focus on the protection of the right to education in the following countries: Finland, Venezuela, India and finally Kosova. The Right to Education and the International Law

The right to education, as a human right, has been highly guaranteed and protected by international law for many decades now. To begin with, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 marked the universal recognition of the right to education. The Declaration guarantees the right to education through Article 26, which among others states that: “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit .” Furthermore, the right to education is protected by the Convention against Discrimination in Education, adopted in 1960. This convention, through its 19 articles plays a high significance in the struggle of the global society to hinder the discriminations and separations in education . Later on, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979, guarantees women equal rights with men in terms of education . In addition, in 1966, the right to education was also preserved in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, specifically through articles 13 and 14. Both article of ICESCR make primary education compulsory and free of charge, as well as oblige the states to make secondary and higher education easily accessible to all . Nevertheless, the Convention on The Rights of The Child (CRC), adopted in 1989, was a significant step in the protection of children from discrimination of any form. Articles 28-32 of this convention particularly deal with discriminations made in education. Signatories of this convention “recognize the right of the child to education,…with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity .”

As mentioned previously, besides international law, the right to education is also enshrined in many regional instruments and most of the countries’ constitutions, though the compliance to the international/regional/national instruments varies to a great extent from country to country. As such, there are great disparities between school enrollment rates in different countries, and the following sections of this paper will deal with the protection/application of the right to education in specific countries and their effects on the education activities. Finland

Finland proved to be one of the most successful...
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