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Other constitutions can also provide a useful guide to robust provisions. See our consitutional database for further enquiry.

The following are two examples of right to education provisions from constitutions from different countries. Which do you think is the more robust and provides for greater government responsibility and which provides the weaker guarantee?

Example 1 - Albania

'Everyone has the right to education.
Mandatory school education is determined by law.

Mandatory education and general high school education in public schools are free.'

Example2 - Bangladesh

'The State shall adopt effective measures for the purpose of: Establishing a uniform, mass-oriented and universal system of education and extending free and compulsory education to all children to such a stage as may be determined by law.'

Example 1

'Everyone has the right to education.

Mandatory school education is determined by law.'

This is unclear - does it mean that education is made mandatory by this law or is a further law necessary to provide for mandatory education?

'Mandatory education and general high school education in public schools are free.'

The only certainty in these provisions is that everyone should have the right to education (no group or individual should be denied education), everyone should attend school and it should be free. However, it is not clear who should provide the education. It is certainly arguable that the State would/should provide it but the law actually says nothing to obligate them to do so - this is a real weakness as the suggestion is that no one could really be held accountable for the non-provision of education.

Secondly, providing that education must be mandatorily school-based does not allow for freedom of education to choose whether education outside of a school environment might be better for a particular child, and it also places the government in a position where it can dictate what a child learns.

Example 2

The State shall adopt effective (key word) measures for the purpose of:

Establishing a uniform, mass-oriented and universal system of education and extending free and compulsory education to all children to such a stage as may be determined by law.

Compared to the second line of the Albanian provision, the limiting ‘ as may be determined by law’ is only to decide to what stage this free education is to extend, not to decide whether to even put in place free education.

The Bangladeshi provision confers far greater responsibility on the government than the Albanian one. It should be noted that both provisions include the vital aspect that the right to education should be made available for all.