Essay on Right to Education
Free 750 words essay on Right to Education for school and college students.
Right to Education is a multi-faceted right enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Elementary education is compulsory, whereas technical and professional education has to be made available. Education needs to be directed to the holistic and progressive development of both knowledge and personality. There is no place for any prejudice or discrimination in the provision of education. 136 countries of the world have safeguarded right to education in their education. 166 countries have ratified the Convention against Discrimination in Education. 183 countries have legal provisions for compulsory education. Even then, more than 72 million children are not in school and more than 750 million adults are illiterate.
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The causes of lack of education are quite generic. Marginalization and poverty are the persisting reasons resulting in a cycle of inequality. Less-developed and developing nations have financial deficits which don’t allow them to fulfill their educational obligations. In some places, even though finances are sufficient, lack of prioritization suggests obscurantism. Gender insensitivity exacerbates the problem as preference is given to boys over girls for educational facilitation. Consequently, UNICEF estimates that 31 million girls are out of primary school. The Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) requires nation-states to make primary education free and compulsory. However, most countries spend less than 4% of their GDP in education and human resource development. Evidence from across the world has shown that quality education has had diminishing effects on social evils like child labor and child marriage.
Fundamental education has multiple parameters, namely skills of thinking and communicating, vocational skills, domestic skills, education for health and hygiene, knowledge and understanding of the physical environment, development of personal judgment and spiritual and moral upliftment. Literacy needs to be functional. Formal education is not limited to children and has to extend to adults as well. Education in adults makes them instrumental in enjoying human rights, empowers the socially and economically marginalized sections, encourages the societal participation, and facilitates active citizenship. Lifelong learning is a robust concept that encompasses people of all age. Right to education of older persons is under the safeguards of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
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The universal right to education cannot discriminate against the marginalized or indigenous groups. Affirmative actions need to be taken for them as they cannot be left behind the social ladder of development. Other common problems are lack of teachers, an absence of classrooms, state affiliation to educational institutions, exclusion of disabled children, distance, conflicts, poor nutrition and exorbitant expenses for quality education.
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Quality is at the heart of education and hence the aim of this dynamic concept is to go beyond acquiring numerical and literacy skills. The curricula, teaching material, and methods have to make acceptable to international standards. The prime issue of making educational environment adequate, safe, and non-violent has to be addressed seriously. Human and financial resources must be made readily available. Although a legal minimum age is recommended for education, there can be no barriers to this right.
Some nations are grappling with the complex issue of privatization of education that may include private actors such as religious institutions, companies, and NGOs. They need to have the liberty to follow international practices and minimum standard guidelines. States would have to monitor private schools but that is acceptable.
Emergency situations hamper education both qualitatively and quantitatively. In such cases conventions under the international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international refugee law, and the international criminal law must be adhered to.
All these issues require funding as the most indispensable component. States resources might be limited but that cannot be taken as a hindrance to education. The 2011 Jomtien Statement requires every country to spend at least 6% of their GDP and/or at least 20% of their national budgets on education. Multilateral institutions such as International Monetary Fund must ensure that their macroeconomic instructions imposed on nations do not affect education scenario. Civil society contributions, corporate social responsibility, and international agencies must come forward to bridge the gap. Educational budgets must be monitored because it is about the future of an entire generation.
Sustainable development aims at ‘eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, combating inequality within and among countries, preserving the planet, creating sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and fostering social inclusion’. This universal agenda advocates access to equal education and achievement of full literacy by 2030. This demands legal and political commitment, accountability, international pressure, and proactive role of non-state actors.