Implementing the Right to Educaction. A Compendium of practical examples based on the Eighth Consultation of Member States on the implementation of the Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education (2011-2013)
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UNESCO has the constitutional mission to institute collaboration among nations to ‘advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunity without regard to race, sex or any distinctions, economic or social.’ Such an ideal is reflected in the Convention against Discrimination in Education, which was adopted by UNESCO on 14 December 1960. The Convention expresses the fundamental principles of non-discrimination and equality of educational opportunities enshrined in the Constitution of UNESCO. It provides a normative basis for universal access to education of good quality and contains provisions on freedom in education, the objectives of education and the rights of national minorities, while also covering other dimensions of the right to education. The Convention is also intended to promote human rights education, as refl ected in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). The Recommendation against Discrimination in Education, adopted at the same time as the Convention, carries similar provisions. The Recommendation sought to take into account the diffi culties that certain States might experience, for various reasons and, in particular, on account of their federal structure, in ratifying the Convention. Barring differences in wording and legal scope inherent in the nature of these two categories of instruments, the content of the Recommendation is identical to that of the Convention. The first seven articles of the Convention and the Recommendation are identical in wording and contain similar provisions. The purpose of the Convention as well as the Recommendation is not only the elimination of discrimination in education, but also the adoption of measures aimed at promoting equality of opportunity and treatment in this fi eld. They stipulate that States must “formulate, develop and apply a national policy which, by methods appropriate to the circumstances and to national usage, will tend to promote equality of opportunity and of treatment in the matter of education”. In other words, States must incorporate the provisions in their national constitutions or domestic law and give effect to those provisions in their national legal system and their education policies. National-level action for creating equal educational opportunities is recognized as crucial to making education accessible to all, without discrimination or exclusion, taking into account the specifi city of each context. As a powerful tool for advocating for and supporting the development of the Education 2030 agenda, the promotion and monitoring of these instruments is of crucial importance in order to ensure an education for all and to counter persistent inequalities in access, participation and learning outcomes at all levels. Concrete measures adopted and implemented by Member States in accordance with their obligations under these instruments contribute to this process.