Building peace in the minds of men and women

What UNESCO does for the right to education

Through its programme on the Right to Education, UNESCO develops, monitors and promotes education norms and standards in order to foster the implementation of the right to education at country level and advance the aims of the Education 2030 Agenda. It provides technical advice and assistance to Member States in reviewing or developing their legal and policy frameworks, and enhances capacities, partnerships and awareness on key challenges.

The key element of UNESCO’s strategy in this field is ensuring state legal obligations are duly reflected in national legal frameworks and translated into concrete policies and programmes. It is aided in this by the rights-based approach of the new agenda as expressed in Sustainable Development Goal 4 and its targets.

Within the context of the new Strategy on standard-setting instruments, adopted by UNESCO’s Executive Board in October 2015, normative work forms a central element of education programme work across all the functions and activities conducted by UNESCO in this field.

In line with the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, the core strategy is the pursuit of the fundamental principles of the right to education and above all the principle of equality of educational opportunities for all without discrimination or exclusion.

UNESCO maintains dialogue with Member States in order to assist them in overcoming obstacles to the realization of the right to education including educational deprivation, inequity and disparity.

A main concern is more effective monitoring of instruments in the field of education. Monitoring implementation is carried out through UNESCO’s own instruments, notably the Convention against Discrimination in Education and through its collaboration with UN human rights bodies.

Emphasis is placed on building and strengthening capacities and mechanisms and UNESCO provides technical support to Member States in reviewing national legal frameworks.

UNESCO works at raising public debate on key issues to build better understanding of the significance of normative action with an emphasis on mobilizing stakeholders. Awareness-raising campaigns, production and dissemination of research and studies and training programmes undertaken in collaboration with key stakeholders form part of strategic actions.

To better serve Member States, UNESCO works in close collaboration with the UN system and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It mobilises, develops and fosters global partnerships to raise awareness on key issues relating to its implementation such as privatisation of education, protection of refugees’ rights, the right to education of persons with disabilities, the status of teachers, the right to education of girls and women, or the right to education of indigenous populations.

It is aided in all this work by the Observatory on the right to education which provides information on the level of implementation of the right to education in the form of access to 195 country profiles and over 1200 official documents.