10.12.2010 -

50 years of combating discrimination in education

© UNESCO /Brendan O'MalleyYoung girl, India

Half a century ago, on 14 December 1960, UNESCO’s General Conference adopted the Convention against Discrimination in Education. It was, and is, the first international instrument with binding force in international law which develops the right to education in all its dimensions.

A key pillar of Education for All (EFA), the Convention, which came into force on 22 May 1962, expresses the fundamental principles of non-discrimination and equality of educational opportunities enshrined in UNESCO's Constitution.

The Convention needs to be better known and more widely adopted. In a letter to Member States, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, points out that despite six new ratifications registered since the last ratification campaign in 2005, the Convention has so far been ratified by 95 States only.

Five years away from the internationally-agreed target date for achieving the EFA goals, Member States are urged to make quality education accessible to all, without discrimination or exclusion, in accordance with their legal obligations under the Convention. Such efforts should focus on reaching the marginalized, many of whom are still denied their right to education.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Convention against Discrimination in Education UNESCO is holding a seminar on Wednesday 15 December 2010 (3.30-5.p.m.) in its Paris Headquarters, with. Kishore Singh, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education and Pierre Michel Eisenman, Professor from the Sorbonne (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne) will make presentations. English – French interpretation will be provided.

The Convention against Discrimination in Education 

More about the seminar on Wednesday 15 December


Right to Education website


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