The right to education also includes a responsibility to provide basic education for legal regulation in the sphere of preschool education who have not completed primary education. In addition to these access to education provisions, the right to education encompasses the obligation to avoid discrimination at all levels of the educational system, to set minimum standards and to improve the quality of education. The right to education is reflected in international law in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Everyone has the right to education.
Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. In Europe, Article 2 of the first Protocol of 20 March 1952 to the European Convention on Human Rights states that the right to education is recognized as a human right and is understood to establish an entitlement to education. Generally, international instruments use the term in this sense and the right to education, as protected by international human rights instruments, refers primarily to education in a narrow sense.
In a wider sense education may describe “all activities by which a human group transmits to its descendants a body of knowledge and skills and a moral code which enable the group to subsist”. The European Court of Human Rights has defined education in a narrow sense as “teaching or instructions in particular to the transmission of knowledge and to intellectual development” and in a wider sense as “the whole process whereby, in any society, adults endeavour to transmit their beliefs, culture and other values to the young. The fulfilment of the right to education can be assessed using the 4 As framework, which asserts that for education to be a meaningful right it must be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable. The 4 As framework proposes that governments, as the prime duty-bearers, have to respect, protect and fulfil the right to education by making education available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable. There should be proper infrastructure and facilities in place with adequate books and materials for students. Buildings should meet both safety and sanitation standards, such as having clean drinking water. Efforts should be made to ensure the inclusion of marginalized groups including children of refugees, the homeless or those with disabilities in short there should be universal access to education i.
Students should not be expected to conform to any specific religious or ideological views. Methods of teaching should be objective and unbiased and material available should reflect a wide array of ideas and beliefs. Observance of religious or cultural holidays should be respected by schools in order to accommodate students, along with providing adequate care to those students with disabilities. A number of international NGOs and charities work to realise the right to education using a rights-based approach to development.
In Europe, before the Enlightenment of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, education was the responsibility of parents and the church. In On Liberty John Stuart Mill wrote that an “education established and controlled by the State should only exist, if it exists at all, as one among many competing experiments, carried on for the purpose of example and stimulus to keep the others up to a certain standard of excellence. The nineteenth century also saw the development of socialist theory, which held that the primary task of the state was to ensure the economic and social well-being of the community through government intervention and regulation. Socialist theory recognised that individuals had claims to basic welfare services against the state and education was viewed as one of these welfare entitlements. International law does not protect the right to pre-primary education and international documents generally omit references to education at this level. This shall be compulsory and free for any child regardless of their nationality, gender, place of birth, or any other discrimination.
Upon ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights States must provide free primary education within two years. Education must be generally available and accessible. That is, anyone who meets the necessary education standards should be able to go to university. Both secondary and higher education shall be made accessible “by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education”.
The rights of all children from early childhood stem from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’. The declaration states that human rights begin at birth and that childhood is a period demanding special care and assistance . Learning begins at birth This calls for early childhood care and initial education.