Every child has the right to education!

UNESCO/Mustafa R. M.D.

The world observes the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 2010. But what difference has it made to children’s right to education?

“The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a good example of the largest number of ratifications of any convention," remarks Kishore Singh, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education. “What we need now is a sharper focus on the universal and effective application of the right to education, especially action at national level according to the articles 28, 29 and 30 of the Convention.”

The gap between ratification and implementation can be seen in the 69 million children, most of them girls, who are still deprived of their right to basic education. Even those children who do have access to school often suffer from poor quality education and leave school without having acquired basic skills.

So what powers does the Convention on the Rights of the Child have? Its force, for the states that have ratified it, is that it is binding, says Kishore Singh. He points out that States have legal obligations to ensure the right to education “As guarantors and promoters of the right to education, they must reflect these obligations in their Constitution and laws and take steps to improve education policies and strategies to give it effect,” he adds. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Convention, the biggest challenge is to eliminate disparities in education and to ensure that the core obligations of States regarding the right to education remain in the forefront, not only for accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, but for pushing the Education for All agenda forward. The right to education is not only a human right in itself but also essential for the exercise of all other human rights.

Related Links

Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Right to Education website

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