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Primers on the right to education

©Gideon Mendel/ Corbis/ ActionAid
©Gideon Mendel/ Corbis/ ActionAid

Below are links to 4 publications - ‘primers’ - devoted to elucidating key dimensions of the right to education and exposing the failings of duty-bearers to respond appropriately. They were all written by Katarina Tomasevski, and despite being a few years old their relevance has unfortunately not diminished at all.

Each and every obstacle, paradox and misconception that these publications attempt to address and counter is alive and well today, giving duty-bearers – governments and the international community, as well as those discriminating in the misconceived name of religion, culture or gender – excuses for inaction or retrogression.

Primer 1 Removing obstacles in the way of the right to education

This publication begins with the need to dismantle prevalent misconceptions because they hinder the advancement of education as a human right. Those conceptual obstacles which are particularly widespread are tackled, and their dark sides highlighted. This publication strives to provide food-for-thought because there are reasons for denying that education is a human right and these have to be brought into the open and countered effectively.

Primer 2 Free and compulsory education for all children: the gap between promise and performance

This publication addresses the cardinal requirement in achieving the right to quality education for all: ensuring that education is free and compulsory.

Primer 3 Human rights obligations: making education available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable

This publication summarizes governmental human rights obligations in education, structured into a simple 4-A scheme – making education available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable.

Primer 4 Human rights in education as a prerequisite for human rights education

This text is devoted to the orientation, contents and methods of education from the human rights perspective. It is inspired by the paucity of information on what happens in schools and universities, which reflects a widespread tendency to discuss education in quantitative terms only. Making human rights education meaningful necessitates ensuring that the rights of learners and teachers are recognized and protected, and yet this is often not the case. This publication illustrates the scope of existing problems through a selection of real-life problems from all corners of the world. It sets out to raise questions rather than to offer answers, simply because questions of such fundamental importance have thus far evaded scrutiny.