Human Rights Obligations in Education

The 4-A Scheme

By K. Tomasevski

This book describes how human rights safeguards should be applied in education. Its point of departure is the fact that education can - and does - violate human rights, notably when it is imposed upon the indigenous or minorities so as to obliterate their identity. Human rights are defined as safeguards against abuse of power, whose counterpart are governmental human rights obligations. These are to make education available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable, hence the 4-A scheme. The purpose of human rights work is to expose and oppose abuses of power. They can be detected in the very design of education strategies. Defining availability of primary education as a development target, removed into distant future, negates the right to education and the corresponding governmental obligations, individual and collective. The book uses examples from different regions to describe safeguards that are necessary to transform political promises into legal obligations. Where education is available, access may be conditioned by purchasing power rather than defined as a human right. Denials of the right to education include discriminat!ionagainst non-citizens or girls. They demonstrate the crucial import of human rights, the need to differentiate between poverty- and policy-based exclusion from education. Acceptability of education entails ensuring that education does not violate human rights and is worthy of its name. Typical human rights cases have challenged, in all corners of the world, the language of instruction, censorship of textbooks or harassment of teachers for introducing human rights education. Also, human rights challenges are epitomized in the requirement to adapt education to the learners, to recognize them as subjects of rights. On the micro-level, adapting education to children with disabilities has triggered human rights challenges world-wide. On the macro-level, adaptability tackles the very design of education. Graduate unemployment illustrates shortcomings of treating education as a self-contained sector as do choices between public and private, secular and religious, segregated andall-inclusive education. The book is published by Wolf Legal Publishers, jointly with the European Association for Education Law and Policy. Katarina Tomasevski was Professor of International Law and International Relations at Lund University (Sweden) and, from 1998-2004, she was Special Rapporteur on the right to education of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The book draws on her experience in carrying out country mission!s incountries as different as the People's Republic of China and United States of America, and facilitating redress for human rights violations in education world-wide. http://www.tomasevski.net/


Publication Date: 7/2/2006
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9789058501356


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