Edited By Beth Blue Swadener, Laura Lundy, Janette Habashi and Natasha Blanchet-Cohen
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
More than 20 years ago, the declaration adopted at the World Summit for Children (1990) stated that “There can be no task nobler than giving every child a better future.” The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted the preceding year (1989), laid down a comprehensive framework for the rights of the child, including the right to education. Under the convention, which is the most universally ratified human rights instrument, states that parties have obligations to incorporate its provisions into domestic laws and policies and to ensure their implementation so that all children everywhere enjoy their right to education. At the same time as the World Summit for Children, the Education for All (EFA) agenda, launched at the World Conference on Education for All (1990) and moved forward by the World Education Forum (2000), expressed collective commitment by the international community to the realization of universal primary education of good quality as the right of every child—boys and girls alike.
However, in spite of progress over the past two decades within these international frameworks, there is an appalling gap between the commitments and the reality. Nearly 60 million children remain deprived of their fundamental right to education—including those belonging to economically and socially marginalized and vulnerable groups such as linguistic and ethnic minorities, immigrants, the handicapped, indigenous peoples, child victims of conflict in many countries, and ← xi | xii → street children. Millions of those living in poverty suffer educational deprivation...
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