The universal right to education proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26) is at the very heart of UNESCO's mission and is an integral part of its constitutional mandate. UNESCO's Constitution expresses the belief of its founders in: “full and equal opportunities for education for all” [...] to advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunity [...]
The right to education occupies a central place in human rights law and is of key importance for the exercise of all other human rights. No civil, political, economic and social right can be exercised by individuals without a basic education.
But in spite of all the commitments made by Governments under international instruments for providing education for all, especially free and compulsory quality basic education, millions of children and adults still remain deprived of educational opportunities, many of them on account of poverty.
In view of its principal role in the UN system in the field of right to education, one of UNESCO’s main global missions is to promote education as a fundamental right.