Every child shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in this Charter irrespective of the child's or his/her parents' or legal guardians' race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.
In all actions concerning the child undertaken by any person or authority the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration.
Article 11: Education
1. Every child shall have the right to an education.
2. The education of the child shall be directed to:
a. the promotion and development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;
b. fostering respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms with particular reference to those set out in the provisions of various African instruments on human and peoples' rights and international human rights declarations and conventions;
c. the preservation and strengthening of positive African morals, traditional values and cultures;
d. the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, tolerance, dialogue, mutual respect and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, tribal and religious groups;
e. the promotion and achievements of African Unity and Solidarity;
f. the development of respect for the environment and natural resources;
g. the promotion of the child's understanding of primary health care.
3. States Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures with a view to achieving the full realization of this right and shall in particular:
a. provide free and compulsory basic education:
b. encourage the development of secondary education in its different forms and to progressively make it free and accessible to all;
c. make the higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity and ability by every appropriate means;
d. take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates;
e. take special measures in respect of female, gifted and disadvantaged children, to ensure equal access to education for all sections of the community.
4. State Parties to the present Charter shall respect the rights and duties of parents, and where applicable, of legal guardians, to choose for their children schools other than those established by public authorities, which conform to such minimum standards as approved by the State, to ensure the religious and moral education of the child in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.
5. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is subjected to schools or parental discipline shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the child and in conformity with the present Charter.
6. State Parties to the present Charter shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children who become pregnant before completing their education shall have an opportunity to continue their education on the basis of their individual ability.
NB. Unlike the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Charter does not oblige States Parties progressively to introduce free higher education, pursue the development of a system of schools at all levels, or continuously to improve the material conditions of teaching staff. Furthermore, the African Charter makes no mention of technical or vocational education, as occurs in Article 28(1)(d) of the Covenant.