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Working at the national level

©Chryssa Panoussiadou/Impact/ActionAid
©Chryssa Panoussiadou/Impact/ActionAid

Much of the work on the right to education at the national level involves researching information to support and strengthen local work, linking with lawyers and amplifying voices through working in coalitions with the media, etc. It is through establishing links between local-level and national-level analysis and action that links with the constitution itself can be made, influencing its wording and implementation. National-level work also includes encouraging national debate on the right to education, using advocacy techniques to make this right a reality. And linking internationally, either through linking to international processes and using international conventions to secure the national right to education, or through working horizontally across countries to advocate for the binding nature of international conventions to be strengthened, makes the right a stronger possibility in reality.

In recent years, education activists around the world have focused a lot of energy on the Education for All framework first asserted in Jomtien in 1990 and then strengthened in Dakar in 2000. Although this certainly offers a vision for a better future, unfortunately the framework has no legal status. The fact that the global community has failed to live up to resource promises cannot be addressed through legal action. This is also the case with the Millennium Development Goals, which have no legal standing. This means that a different set of reference points needs to be used to make the right to education a reality; this is likely to involve your national constitution and national legislation on education, gender or child rights. However, it is important to recognise that international conventions provide the framework or reference points by which to evaluate national legislation. These are the standards to which you should hold your government to account. It is therefore necessary to access the relevant international treaties to enable you to engage on the right to education at national level.

For more on strategies at the national level:

From analysis to action

Working with the government

Constitutional change

Rights holders and duty bearers