That the system is non- discriminatory and accessible to all, and that positive steps are taken to include the most marginalised.
Possible questions to consider:
Is education accessible to all, without discrimination on any grounds – for example race, colour, ethnicity, sex, language, religion, economic or social status? Are positive actions made to reach the most vulnerable? Are there any laws, such as laws preventing child labour, which need to be enforced to ensure accessibility?
Is education within safe physical reach? Are there appropriate transport facilities?
Is education affordable for all – including indirect costs such as textbooks and uniforms?
Have all legal and administrative obstacles, such as the need for a birth certificate, been abolished?
Possible indicators and violations:
The system should be non-discriminatory and accessible to all, and positive steps should be taken to include the most marginalised: for example; no child labour, no gender discrimination, no disability discrimination, affirmative action to include the most marginalised school, within reachable distance.
Indicator: Non-discrimination - education must be accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable groups, in law and fact, without discrimination on any ground, including race, colour, sex, language, religion, opinion, origin, economic status, birth, social status, minority or indigenous status, and disability. Possible violation: Failure of government to prohibit segregation of indigenous children in separate schools or girls being denied access to education because they are working in the home or married early. The Government has not enacted or does not enforce child labour laws. As a result, children are prevented from attending primary (and secondary) education because they are working. The problem is particularly acute if the children are working under harsh or exploitative conditions. The Government does not develop or implement programmes targeted at particularly vulnerable children, such as homeless, abandoned and street children; refugee children; or children of illegal immigrants, to ensure that they attend school.
Indicator: Education has to be within safe physical reach, either by attendance at some reasonably convenient geographic location (e.g. a neighbourhood school) or via modern technology (e.g. access to a “distance learning” programme); transport facilities should be provided or residential facilities should be provided to children who do not have access to schools within their neighbourhood. Possible violation: There is clearly substandard provision of education services in rural areas if a child has to walk 10 miles to get to his/her nearest school, or if travelling to school is unsafe.
Indicator: Education must be affordable to all. This includes not only the elimination of school fees but also of indirect costs such as textbooks and uniforms. Whereas primary education should be available “free to all”, States parties are required to progressively introduce free secondary and higher education. (ICESCR Art. 13 (2) ). Possible violation: There are prohibitive financial costs involved, such as fees, donations, capitation fees, uniforms or textbooks. Such fees may be termed e.g. family ‘contributions’ for school books.
Indicator: Other obstacles to accessing education - both legal and administrative - must be abolished. Possible violation: Where a child needs a birth certificate to participate in education.