The right to education is a fundamental human right.
Photo: Ken Opprann

The right to education

61 million children do not have access to basic education and 758 million adults in the world are illiterate because they have never got any education, according to the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report.

The right to education is a fundamental human right. Every individual, irrespective of race, gender, nationality, ethnic or social origin, religion or political preference, age or disability, is entitled to a free elementary education.

This right has been universally recognised since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and has since been enshrined in various international conventions, national constitutions and development plans.

Access and quality

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not only state the right to access education, but also of the quality of education:

«... 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 ... racial or religious groups. ...» (Article 26)

Therefore it is important to work both for increased access and quality.

Essential for other rights

Education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits.

Education is a powerful tool by which economically and socially marginalized adults and children can lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully as citizens.