Education and Training

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The right of everyone to an education is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is guaranteed legally without discrimination through a number of human rights instruments. 

In international human rights law, education is considered to be not only a right in itself but also an indispensable means of realising other human rights. The duties on civil servants involved in legislating for and planning education provision include:

  • Ensuring everyone enjoys equal access to statutory curriculum and services

  • Allocating adequate funding to support an effective education system

  • Taking positive measures to facilitate better access to education for vulnerable and marginalised groups

It is important to note that for the purposes of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children are defined as being all those under the age of 19. This means that:

The Department of Employment has obligations under this treaty to all those children aged 16-18 whose education falls under their responsibility. This includes the right of these children to participate in decisions (art. 12) and the provision of education that develops the whole person and develops respect for human rights (art. 29).


The provision of technical and vocational guidance and training programmes for young people and adults is required under the right to work in order to achieve the full realisation of this right. As with all socio-economic rights these opportunities must be provided:

  • Without discrimination 

  • Funded to the maximum of available resources 

  • Focused on better facilitating this right for the most vulnerable and marginalised groups 

Rights Engaged 

Right to an education
  • ECHR / HRA, Prot 1 Art 2
  • ICESCR, Art 13
  • UNCRC, Art 28
  • UNCERD, Art 5
  • UNCEDAW, Art 10
  • UNCRPD, Art 24

Learn more about this right

Right to parental choice
  • ECHR/HRA, Prot 1 Art 2
Right to education that develops the whole person and develops respect for human rights
  • UNCRC Art 29
Right of children to participate in decisions affecting them
  • UNCRC, Art 12
Right to work (including a duty to provide training programmes)
  • ICESCR, Art 6