Right to Education
The right to education has been recognized as a human right in a number of international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which recognizes a right to free, compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all, on particular by the progressive introduction of free secondary education, as well as an obligation to develop equitable access to higher education, ideally by the progressive introduction of free higher education. Today, almost 75 million children across the world are prevented from going to school each day. As of 2019, 164 states, including Pakistan, were parties to the Covenant.
The right to education is reflected in international law in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The right to education has also been reaffirmed in the 1960 UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, the 1981 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The right to education also includes a responsibility to provide basic education for individuals who have not completed primary education from the school and college levels. In addition to these access to education provisions, the right to education encompasses the obligations of the students to avoid discrimination at all levels of the educational system, to set minimum standards of education and to improve the quality of education.
LRF believes that Education in all its forms (informal, non-formal, and formal) is crucial to ensure human dignity of all individuals. The aims of education are therefore all directed to the realization of the individual’s rights and dignity. These include, among others, ensuring human dignity and the full and holistic development of the human personality; fostering physical and cognitive development; allowing for the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and talents; contributing to the realization of the full potential of the individual; enhancing self-esteem and increasing confidence; encouraging respect for human rights; shaping a person’s sense of identity and affiliation with others; enabling socialization and meaningful interaction with others; enabling a person to shape the world around them enables their participation in community life; contributing to a full and satisfying life within society; and empowering and allowing for the increased enjoyment of other human rights.
Right to Education for Children
The rights of all children from early childhood stem from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration proclaimed in article 1: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. The declaration states that human rights begin at birth and that childhood is a period demanding special care and assistance [art. 25 (2)]. The 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child affirmed that: ‘mankind owes to the child the best it has to give’, including education. This was amplified by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 which states that: ‘education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms [art. 13 (1)].
The World Declaration on Education for All (EFA) adopted in 1990 in Jomtien, Thailand, states in article 5 that: ‘Learning begins at birth […] This calls for early childhood care and initial education.’ A decade later, the Dakar Framework for Action on EFA established six goals, the first of which was: ‘expanding and improving early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.’ Protection of children of all ages from exploitation and actions that would jeopardize their health, education and well-being has also been emphasized by the International Labour Organization in Conventions No. 138 on the Minimum Age of Employment (1973) and No. 182 on the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999). The United Nations contributed to such endeavours by the Declaration of the Rights of the Child unanimously adopted by the General Assembly in 1959.
LRF also promote and protect the rights of education for all as enshrined in Art:25 A of the Constitution of Pakistan as fundamental right of every citizen of Pakistan without any discrimination. LRF promotes quality education in all over Pakistan, with special focus on rural areas in collaboration with its local partners working in education.
LRF has provided technical support to SHED Foundation’s Care School System and AIMS School System in Sindh for the capacity building of teachers and capacity development of school management committees to ensure quality education for all children, especially girls. LRF has lobbied with legislature and advocated for the development of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy in Sindh. LRF organized 03 policy dialogues on ECCE in Sindh in collaboration with Education Department, Government of Sindh and Early Childhood Development Network of Pakistan.
Currently, LRF is implementing an education programme in Shikarpur-Sindh on Accelerated Learning for Girls (age 9-18) with an objective to improve wellbeing of girls through safe alternative learning and development opportunities. In order to address the serious challenge for girls not attending formal school, the Accelerated Learning approach is being used as an alternative approach to provide crucial access to education. LRF and Sindh Education and Literacy Department (SELD) are coordinating on this intervention to establish Accelerated Learning Centers (ALCs) across Shikarpur District.
LRF also plans to extend non-formal education courses to juveniles in Remand Homes and Youth Offenders Industrial Schools in Sindh in order to enhance literacy and skill education among juveniles and help them in their rehabilitation/reintegration in the society.