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A Global Conversation on the Right to Education

Reviewing and extending the understanding of the Right to education in the 21st Century

Why is it important?
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Right to Education Convention, UNESCO is launching a conversation in view of examining the changing dimensions of the right to education in order to build back better in the educational recovery. The year 2020 shed a new light on the importance of the right to education. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the right to education has become—at the global level—dependent on connectivity, especially internet access. Infrastructure, technologies and capabilities that seemed optional dictated whether hundreds of millions of students could access educational opportunities.

The Pandemic and the resulting socio-economic crisis are also calling for reviewing the tendency to consider the right to education as limited to the right to schooling.  For instance, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, in the framework of the broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, promotes an approach to education that seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

In its June 2020 report Education in a post-COVID world: Nine ideas for public action the International Commission on the Futures of Education called for an expanded understanding of the right to education. The Commission called for a global public discussion – that includes among others learners of all ages – on ways the right to education might need to be broadened to reflect changing contexts, learning throughout life, and the importance of access to knowledge and information.

What are the aims of the Conversation?
This conversation aims to encourage reflection on broadening the scope of the right to education, by considering how this right, as developed by international standard-setting framework - first and foremost is the 1960 Convention which is entirely dedicated to it - can embrace new areas to respond to new and emerging challenges, and their implications for ensuring quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. This will further inform the continued relevance of the international normative instruments and the desirability of their eventual updating in the framework of UNESCO’s governing bodies. These areas may include, among others, issues in relation to remote learning, digital inclusion and learner’s data and privacy aspects, connectivity, right to lifelong learning, early childhood care and education, right to education of displaced persons and other right-based areas, with the aim to prevent an exacerbation of inequalities worldwide.

What are the key questions?
The Conversation will focus on three key questions:

  1. What are the new dimensions that the right to education should embrace?

  2. What are the conditions needed for realizing the new dimensions such as connectivity, lifelong learning entitlements and others ?

  3. How responsibilities can be shared between the state and other stakeholders?

How to contribute?
You are invited to use the e-platform here below to contribute to the Conversation by sharing your ideas on main issues at stake, emerging trends and elements to be considered in priority in future discussions on this theme by referring to the key questions.


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