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GCE at UN General Assembly: what happened to the Right to Education?

RTE JOINT STATEMENT THUMB24 September 2013, New York, NY: Today, sixteen leading civil society organisations are calling for the human right to education to be recognised and placed at the heart of the post-2015 development framework by member states of the United Nations.

The sixteen organisations launching this joint call are the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE), Education International (EI), the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE), the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), the Arab Campaign for Education for All (ACEA), the Africa Network Campaign for Education for All (ANCEFA), the Latin American and Caribbean Council for Popular Education (CEAAL), the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), Global March Against Child Labor, ActionAid, Oxfam, DVV International, Plan International, IBIS and Open Society Foundations. Between them, they represent thousands of grassroots, national, regional and global civil society organisations, as well as 30 million teachers, in over 170 countries.


The call covers fundamental principles that express an understanding of education as a fundamental human right:

  • Every human being is entitled to the right to education.
  • States are duty bearers and must respect, protect and fulfil human rights, including the right to education.
  • The right to education begins at birth and is lifelong.
  • Adult Education and Literacy in a Lifelong learning framework are an integral part of the right to education.
  • A broad approach to quality education is needed.
  • Equality and non discrimination are core elements of the right to education.
  • Teachers are at the centre of quality education.
  • The State must provide sufficient financing for public education.
  • There must be democratic governance in education.
  • Human rights are integral, indivisible and interdependent.


Download the full statement in English

To announce this call, the sixteen organisations are co-hosting an event, The Right to Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, today at the headquarters of the Open Society Foundations in New York, NY. The event will see keynote speeches from the Minister for Education of Timor-Leste, His Excellency Bendito dos Santos Freitas and the UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Education, Kishore Singh, alongside representatives of the Government of France, UNESCO, UNICEF, UN Women and GCE, ICAE and Education International.

Camilla Croso, President of the Global Campaign for Education, commented:

“Every person is entitled to the right to education, but today millions of children, adolescents, young people and adults have this right violated. And violations come about not only because access is denied, or because fees are charged, but also because the education which is offered does not respond to the aims and objectives set out in human rights instruments. In this sense, legislation, public policy and educational practice must be geared to the full development of the human personality and the respect for human rights and democracy. States, as duty bearers, have the responsibility to ensure that free, quality, public education systems are in place. This event and joint statement being promoted by 16 leading civil society organisations shows there is a growing consensus that human rights have to be at the heart of the Post 2015 development agenda to give us the greatest chance of ensuring that every child, adolescent and adult has the best possible chance to live in dignity.”