23 April 2007 - Education as a human right is the theme of the 2007 Global Action Week (GAW) 23-29 April 2007. This annual initiative in favour of Education for All is organized by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), with the support of numerous partners ranging from international organizations to civil society.
A basic education is a right inherent to being human, each child's birthright and thus constitutes an end in itself. However, education is also a means to an end: it is required to ensure all people can live in a dignified manner and participate effectively in society. It also enables human beings to exercise all the other human rights (enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights).
2007 is a crucial year as it is the mid-point towards the EFA goals. Time is running out to achieve these. It is an important moment for demanding more urgent action towards achieving education rights. Rather than being a distant ideal these rights need to be converted into a reality now – and the EFA goals gives us a deadline.
The focus on Education as a Human Right leads the campaign to promote the entire Education For All agenda. Too many governments have been pressurised to make choices between investing in one part of EFA over another. But education rights cannot be traded off against one another. Adults and pre-school children have as much right to education as primary school children. A rights-based approach means we need to look at the 6 EFA goals holistically or as a chain - rather taking any one of them separately.
Delivering on these 6 EFA goals is not an act of charity by governments – rather it is their responsibility as governments to deliver on the right to education for all their citizens. If a government fails, it is not just that they are missing out on a globally agreed goal - rather they will be violating a basic right and should be held accountable. Focusing on "rights" should give us more passion and purpose than ever.
The GAW calls on civil society to create a chain of testimony and accountability from local to national then onto regional and international so that world leaders are at the end of a civil society monitoring chain - a 'chain' physically and metaphorically to pass up the realities of where EFA is 'on the ground' and what violations there are to education as a human right.
- Education is about fundamental inherent human rights
- 2007 is the mid way point for the EFA goals and at current rates of progress these are not going to be met
- 80 million children are still out of school, and almost a billion adults are illiterate
- What are you as leaders going to do about it NOW before it is too late?
For the last five years, the Global Action Week has been building momentum, advocating for local and national leaders to put education and literacy on top of the political agenda. Examples of people joining up around the world for action week 2007 come from Bangladesh, Gambia, Senegal, Guatemala, Kenya, Lebanon, Peru, Somalia and Vietnam. Please visit www.campaignforeducation.org/action/2007/action.html for more information on the Global Action Week and how you can get involved.