The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article XXVI: Right to Education

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted in 1948 and one of the articles, article XXVI deals with protection of the fundamental rights, right to education: (1) 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.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

The right to education is a universal right and is recognized as a human right. It includes the right to free, non biased and non political primary education for everyone, to make secondary education at least accessible to everyone and make access to higher education. The right to education also provides the obligation to avoid discrimination at all educational levels and to improve quality of education. Furthermore, the European Court of Human Rights defined „education as teaching or instructions in particular to the transmission of knowledge and to intellectual development" and in a wider sense as "the whole process whereby, in any society, adults endeavor to transmit their beliefs, culture and other values to the young. “ The rights to educations have been separated into three levels. Primary also known as elemental or fundamental education must be compulsory and free for any young person. It must not be discriminatory on nationality, gender, sexuality, etc. All countries ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights States must provide free primary education within two years. Secondary education must be available and accessible to anyone regardless of nationality, gender, or sexuality. It can be free or not, and it can be compulsory, but it does not have to be. In some countries, even though minority, secondary education is compulsory, for example in Denmark, Croatia, Finland, etc. Higher education at the University level must be accessible to persons who meet necessary education standards to be able to go to universities. Higher education does not falls under the provision of free education.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proclaims that: „Everyone has the right to education“, the question is to what kind of education or who should provide it? The fact is that UDHR was drawn up in 1948 when only a minority of young people in the world had access to any type of education, however, today we can say that situation is much better, showing that four out of five adults worldwide have some literacy skills. The purpose of the UDHR's article XXVI is not just having quantative aspect, but also qualitative. The UDHR's article XXVI has certain provisions that must be fulfilled in order to have qualitative education, such provisions are: „Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages“and „Elementary education shall be compulsory“. Today educational opportunities have significantly changed in most parts of the world especially in Europe, North America, and Asia, nevertheless Africa remains the main problem regarding the number of educated people. Another interesting point has been made over the years, whether educational institutions are ready to provide qualitive education to young people, and prepare them for social, economical, and political aspects of human life. The commitment of the international community...
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