Monitoring the implementation of norms and standards

Monitoring right to education standards
Last update: June 9, 2022

Realizing the right to education depends on its effective implementation by countries. To achieve this, state obligations and political commitments under international instruments must be reflected in their constitutions and national legislation and translated into policies and programmes.  

To monitor the implementation of UNESCO standard-setting instruments, Article VIII of the Constitution of UNESCO requires Member States to submit reports on the legislative and administrative provisions they have adopted and on other measures taken to implement the conventions and recommendations. UNESCO procedures require Member States to submit such reports every four years through regular consultations launched by UNESCO. 

The Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, part of UNESCO’s Executive Board, examines the outcome of the consultations and follow-up is given to decisions accordingly adopted by UNESCO’s Governing Bodies – the Executive Board and the General Conference.  

The Committee also examines communications relating to cases and questions concerning the exercise of human rights in UNESCO's field of competence.

UNESCO also collaborates with the UN systems on monitoring the right to education by providing contributions to, among others, the Universal Periodic Review, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on the status of the implementation of the right to education in the country undergoing review. The UNESCO consultations are valuable sources of information for these contributions. 

Consultations on the implementation of the 1960 Convention and Recommendation

UNESCO periodically launches a consultation on the Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education. These instruments reflect UNESCO’s constitutional mission of instituting collaboration among nations to “advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunities without regard to race, sex or any distinctions, economic or social.”  

The Convention being recognized as a cornerstone of Education 2030 Agenda, the monitoring of the right to education in the context of Education 2030 and the Sustainable Development Agenda is of crucial importance to guarantee government accountability and transparency. More information.

Number of State reports received for the different consultations

Number of State reports received for the different consultations
Source: UNESCO report ‘From rights to country-level action’

UNESCO recently concluded its 10th consultation on these instruments

  • When? 

In February 2020, UNESCO Director-General requested Member States to submit national reports on the measures taken for the implementation of these instruments (Conventions for countries that have ratified and Recommendations for all Member States). 

Based on national reports received, an analytical report synthesizing the findings of the consultation was prepared and submitted to UNESCO’s Governing Bodies in 2021. 

  • How? 

Guidelines for the Preparation of national reports were prepared by the Secretariat and approved by the Executive Board in October 2019.  

These Guidelines provide necessary orientations for the preparation of the report covering the period 2017-2020. As the scope and content of the legal obligations under the right to education are aligned with SDG4 on education, efforts have been made to ensure that the specific components are included in the guidelines and that the guidelines serve as a valuable monitoring tool for measuring progress towards SDG4 targets. 

  • Why? 

Besides being constitutionally required to report to the Organization on the implementation of UNESCO’s instruments, participation in consultations offers a valuable opportunity to assess progress and identify challenges, build constructive dialogue with all stakeholders including civil society, and share good practices.  

The Global Observatory on the Right to Education and the interactive tool ‘Her Atlas’ are notably enriched by information provided in the context of consultations. 

Based on the previous consultations, reports and mappings have been produced and serve as essential tools for information-sharing and advocacy in connection with the right to education, including: 

Reports analyzing the findings of the consultations

Monitoring of other UNESCO standard-setting instruments

Beyond the Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education, UNESCO also monitors other UNESCO standard-setting instruments, notably:  

The Right to education: monitoring standard-setting instruments of UNESCO
The Right to education: an analysis of UNESCO's standard-setting instruments
A Human rights-based approach to Education for All: a framework for the realization of children's right to education and rights within education