The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) marked a milestone that we celebrate thirty years later, as it remains the most universal human rights instrument (only the United States has refused to ratify it) and its projection covers multiple areas of people’s development and a vast understanding of the socio-cultural and economic conditions that affect the enjoyment of children and adolescents human rights.
The Convention on the rights of the child opened an immense sky, destined to new wings: it strengthened the expansive understanding of the issues of law, by advocating a comprehensive concept of citizenship that encompasses childhood and adolescence in a new paradigm that finally left behind the welfare ideas of the old regime. Paradoxically, the principles of the Convention also benefited youth and fueled up the general debate on inclusion, justice, adaptability and participation of many social actors, especially people who have historically been discriminated against.
Thanks to the Convention, and especially to the work of the Committee on the rights of the child, the conceptual and normative framework of the right to education was also significantly enriched, since the idea of active citizenship of children and adolescents and especially the principle of the best interests of the child, have made it necessary to improve their meaningful participation in school governance and in decision-making in matters that affect them.
The Convention took up the objectives proposed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and presented a powerful cast of education aims (article 29) that clarify the idea that education cannot be reduced to meet employers needs and should promote the construction of knowledge necessary to dignify people’s lives. This vision was enshrined in General Comment 1 of the Committee on the rights of the child and provided a ton of arguments in favor of respect for the social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of children and adolescents.
This comprehensive and inclusive vision has allowed a more effective articulation of the right to education with other rights, inspiring national legislation and national and international jurisprudence in favor of non-restrictive views of education and learning.
After thirty years since its adoption, the Global Campaign for Education continues to grow under the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and joins the joy of its members to commemorate this event.
by Vernor Muñoz