DSC08022_MayasariEveryone deserves the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills that will help them thrive. While significant progress has been made in terms of educational access over the past decade, the shortfall remains staggering, with tens of millions of children around the world out of school. Even among those children who are in school, too many are being taught in overly crowded classrooms or by poorly trained teachers, and are not fully benefiting from their education. Adults also need the chance to complete education that they missed out on as children, or pursue further training that will allow them to better compete in the labor market.

The WORLD Policy Analysis Center has analyzed educational rights, laws, and policies in all 193 UN member states to produce globally comparative data relevant to making universal access to quality education a reality. In order to shed light on the steps that countries take to protect children’s and adults’ educational opportunities, we investigated education policies and regulations that are currently in place in all UN member states. Our findings about constitutional rights to education, access to free and compulsory education, and the quality of education are displayed on the maps in this section.

Topics covered include:

Access to Education

 Quality of Education

 Educational Rights

Children’s and adults’ right to education have been recognized at an international level for decades in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 (accepted by all 193 UN member states), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1966 (ratified by 160 countries) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989 (ratified by all but three UN member states).

For example, Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that, “States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular: (a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all; (b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need; (c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means; (d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children; (e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.”

The right to education for adults has been recognized in documents such as the Hamburg Declaration on Adult Learning (1997). According to Article 9 from this declaration, “Basic education for all means that people, whatever their age, have an opportunity, individually and collectively, to realize their potential. It is not only a right, it is also a duty and a responsibility both to others and to society as a whole.”

The right to education free from discrimination has also been recognized in documents such as the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006).