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In some countries in which the constitutional right to education exists, it is not actually meaningful. The language used in the constitution might be ambiguous and open to different interpretations, or the right might exist with no reference to whom will pay for the right. In this case you might focus your efforts on generating pressure for a constitutional amendment.

Before pursuing a public litigation case it is important to review your current and potential relationship with the government. You should consider how the litigation will impact on this relationship and if there are different avenues that you should be pursuing which may be more effective in the long run. For example, the government may be interested in delivering the right to education, and have shown positive moves towards this, but need support in thinking through how to do it. For many governments the education system is centrally planned and driven, and this might limit its flexibility and ability to meet the needs of specific groups. Strategies for engaging with government include organising meetings, conferences and events to share success stories and learning for education in specific contexts – such as education for different excluded groups. It could also involve bringing in experiences from overseas, especially if a new initiative is being trialled which has been attempted elsewhere. Or you may work with government over a longer time period, using capacity building workshops, regular updates and planning meetings or implementation support. While the rights-based approach challenges direct service delivery, civil society organisations working in partnership with government to deliver services can be a short term measure to achieve sustainable education provision in the long run. This is particularly the case if you are sharing skills or strengthening government capacity.