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A Human Rights-Based Approach to Achieve Education for All

Everyone has the right to education…Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(Article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

UNESCO Bangkok is working closely with UNESCO’s Headquarters to mainstream a human rights-based approach into programmes and activities aimed at achieving education for all in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals recognise the importance of promoting education for all, and aims to ensure that, by 2015, all children will be able to complete primary schooling.  The Dakar World Declaration on Education For All affirmed that the international human right to education is the foundation by which to secure education for all.

 

In taking a human rights-based approach to education, UNESCO Bangkok utilises relevant standards contained in international human rights law to assist duty-bearers in meeting their obligations and to increase the capacity of rights-holders to claim their right to education. 

 

The “4-A approach” first outlined by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its General Comment No. 13 on the Right to Education describes government obligations to protect, respect and fulfil the right to education in terms of making education availableaccessibleacceptable and adaptable

In taking a human rights-based approach to education, UNESCO Bangkok utilises relevant standards contained in international human rights law to assist duty-bearers in meeting their obligations and to increase the capacity of rights-holders to claim their right to education. 

 

The “4-A approach” first outlined by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its General Comment No. 13 on the Right to Education describes government obligations to protect, respect and fulfil the right to education in terms of making education available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable. 

AVAILABILITY

  • Compulsory and free education for all children in the country within a determined age range, up to at least the minimum age of employment.
  • Respect parental freedom to choose education for their children, observing the principle of the best interests of the child.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Eliminate exclusion from education based on the internationally prohibited grounds of discrimination (race, colour, sex, language, religion, opinion, origin, economic status, birth, social or HIV/AIDS status, minority or indigenous status, disability).
  • Eliminate gender and racial discrimination by ensuring equal enjoyment of all human rights in practice, rather than only formally prohibiting discrimination

ACEPTABILITY

  • Set minimum standards for education, including the medium of instruction, contents and methods of teaching, and to ensure their observance in all educational institutions.
  • Improve the quality of education by ensuring that the entire education system conforms to all human rights.

ADAPTABILITY

  • Design and implement education for children excluded from formal schooling (e.g. refugees or internally displaced children, children deprived of their liberty, or working children).
  • Adapt education to the best interests of each child, especially regarding children with disabilities, or minority and indigenous children.