Article 26: Right to Education.

  • Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. 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. 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.
  • Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Education is one of the most powerful weapons against poverty and inequality. It is an incredible economic and societal force. For each individual, education opens opportunities. Both in form of carriers but also in form of development as a person. It broadens the world, inspires confidence and creativity in people.

On a societal scale, this has huge benefits. A society made of educated individuals has fewer unemployment issues, a more diverse labor market which in return decreases poverty. It also has huge impacts on democratic issues. Education promotes informed opinions, which in Article 19 was explained, together with expression, as the essence of democracy. Informed populations have informed discussions, informed voters, and more transparency. Education is a vital part of keeping the democratic power in the hands of the people instead of the state. This proves that education is an investment in the future economic, cultural, and societal growth for countries.

This article states that education is a right for all humans. Elementary education shall be free and compulsory. However, basic education remains a privilege in large parts of the world. An estimated 72 million children around the world do not have access to schools. This problem is the biggest in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also central and eastern Asia have a huge amount of children that do not receive any education. ‘Humanium’ has found that in certain countries such as Somalia and Burkina Faso, more than 50% of children receive an education for a period of fewer than 2 years. Furthermore, the children that do receive education in these, and other, parts of the world have a very low-quality education. Due to poverty and lack of resources, teachers are not educated or trained; the children are put in big classes with no distinction of age, learning style or level of knowledge. Therefore, it is almost impossible to secure adequate knowledge. It also goes without saying, that the second paragraph of this article is impossible to achieve under these circumstances. Poor quality and conditions do not promote the development of personalities, respect for human rights or freedoms.   

Written by Nanna Orloff Mortensen and Natalia Colmenar

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