Right to Education

United Nations World Conference Documents

ICPD POA para. 4.18 Beyond the achievement of the goal of universal primary education in all countries before the year 2015, all countries are urged to ensure the widest and earliest possible access by girls and women to secondary and higher levels of education, as well as to vocational education and technical training, bearing in mind the need to improve the quality and relevance of that education; para. 7.47 Governments, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, are urged to meet the special needs of adolescents and to establish appropriate programmes to respond to those needs. . . ICPD+5 para. 21 (b) Governments should: Meet the needs of youth, especially young women . . ., priority should be given to to programmes such as education, income- generating opportunities, vocational training . . . para. 35 Governments, in particular of developing countries, with the assistance of the international community, should: (a) expand youth and adult education and lifelong culture and gender-sensitive learning policies and programmes, with particular attention to migrants, indigenous people and people with disabilities; (b) Include at all levels, as appropriate, of formal and non-formal schooling, education about population and health issues, including sexual and reproductive health issues, . . . enhancing gender equality and equity. . . (c) Reduce the rate of illiteracy of women and men, at least halving it for women and girls by 2005, compared with the rate in 1990.

Beijing para. 80 Actions to be taken by Governments: Advance the goal of equal access to education by taking measures to eliminate discrimination in education at all levels on the basis of gender, race, language, religion, national origin, age or disability, or any other form of discrimination and, as appropriate, consider establishing procedures to address grievances; (b) … close the gender gap in primary and secondary school education by the year 2005; provide universal primary education in all countries before the year 2015; (c) Eliminate gender disparities in access to all areas of tertiary education . . . ; (j) Encourage ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights where they have not already done so. para. 83 . . . (k) Remove legal, regulatory and social barriers, where appropriate, to sexual and reproductive health education within formal education programmes regarding women's health issues; para. 277 (a) (a) Promote an educational setting that eliminates all barriers that impede the schooling of married and/or pregnant girls and young mothers . .

WSSD(1) para 47 (j) Address effectively, for all individuals of appropriate age, the promotion of their healthy lives, including their reproductive and sexual health, consistent with the commitments and outcomes of recent United Nations conferences and summits, including the World Summit for Children, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the International Conference of Population and Development, the World Summit for Social Development and the Fourth World Conference on Women, and their respective reviews and reports;


CESCR(2) article 13 (1) – The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. They further agree that education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups , and further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

CEDAW(3) article 10 – States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education and in particular to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women: (a) The same conditions for career and vocational guidance, . . ; (c) The elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women at all levels and in all forms of education . . .; (e) The same opportunities for access to programmes of continuing education, including adult and functional literacy programmes, particulary those aimed at reducing, at the earliest possible time, any gap in education existing between men and women; article 14 – States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas [and] ensure to such women the right: . . . (d) To obtain all types of training and education, formal and non-formal, including that relating to functional literacy, as well as, inter alia, the benefit of all community and extension services, in order to increase their technical proficiency[.]

CERD(4) article 5 – States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all it forms and to guarantee [to] everyone . . . (e) (v) – In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right to everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of … (e) Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular: (v) The right to education and training.

CRC(5) article 28 – State Parties recognize the right of the child to;
article 29 – States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to education . . . (d) –The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin.

MWC(6) article 30 – Each child of a migrant worker shall have the basic right of access to education on the basis of equality of treatment with nationals of the State concerned; article 43 – Migrant workers shall enjoy quality of treatment with nationals of the State in relation to . . . (a) access to educational institutions and services… (b) access to vocational training.


1.WSSD: World Summit on Sustainable Development

2. CESCR: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

3. CEDAW: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

4. CERD: International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

5. CRC: Convention on the Rights of the Child

6. MWC : Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families