Table 9: Children’s Health and the Right
to Education

Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • Legislation requiring payment for primary education, or otherwise making primary education not accessible in an equitable manner for all children.
  • High dropout rates, particularly among children belonging to vulnerable groups, including children from rural areas; children living in economic hardship and deprivation; Roma children and children from other minority groups; refugee and internally displaced children.
  • Poor conditions of school buildings and facilities, which pose health and safety risks for children.
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
CRC 28 (1): States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;

(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.

CRC General Comment 1(9): Education must also be aimed at ensuring that … no child leaves school without being equipped to face the challenges that he or she can expect to be confronted with in life. Basic skills should include … the ability to make well-balanced decisions, to resolve conflicts in a nonviolent manner, and to develop a healthy lifestyle [and] good social relationships. CRC/GC/2001/1 (April 17, 2001).

CRC Committee: Expressing concern at the quality of education in Bhutan CRC/C/SR.1369 (CRC, 2008), para. 61; Costa Rica CRC/C/CRI/CO/4 (CRC, 2011), paras. 67, 69; and Egypt CRC/C/EGY/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2011), para. 74.

CRC Committee: Noting the lack of non-formal, vocational education options for Bhutan CRC/C/SR.1369 (CRC, 2008), para. 61; Bulgaria CRC/C/BGR/CO/2 (CRC, 2008), paras. 58 (b)(h); Panama CRC/C/PAN/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2011), para. 62 (a).

CRC Committee: Expressing concern at the dropout levels in Bulgaria CRC/C/BGR/CO/2 (CRC, 2008), paras. 58 (b)(h); Egypt CRC/C/EGY/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2011), para. 74; Italy CRC/C/ITA/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2012), para. 59; and Serbia CRC/C/SRB/CO/1 (CRC, 2008), para. 60(d); Syria CRC/C/SYR/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2012), para. 71(a); and Madagascar CRC/C/MDG/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2012), para. 57.

CRC Committee: Expressing concern at the rate and quality of education for indigenous/minority children in Costa Rica CRC/C/CRI/CO/4 (CRC, 2011), paras. 67, 69; Italy CRC/C/ITA/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2012), para. 59; and Serbia CRC/C/SRB/CO/1 (CRC, 2008), para. 60(d).

CRC Committee: Calling attention to the highly competitive nature of the education system in Singapore, which may impose undue stress and prevent children from developing to their full potential. CRC/C/SGP/CO/2-3 (CRC, 2010), para. 58.

Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
ICESCR 13: Everyone has the right to education. Primary education should be compulsory and free to all. 

ICESCR 14: Those States where compulsory, free primary education is not available to all should work out a plan to provide such education.

CESCR: Expressing concern about the high dropout and repetition rates in Peru E/C.12/PER/CO/2-4 (CESCR, 2012); and Germany E/C.12/DEU/CO/5 (CESCR, 2011).

CESCR: Recommending increased efforts to ensure effective access to education by Roma children and other vulnerable groups in Italy CERD/C/ITA/CO/16-18 (CERD, 2012); Slovakia E/C.12/SVK/CO/2 (CESCR, 2012).CESCR: Expressing concern to Israel that Palestinian children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are not able to enjoy their right to education, as a consequence of restrictions on their movement, regular harassment by settlers of children and teachers on their way to and from school, attacks on educational facilities, and sub-standard school infrastructure. E/C.12/ISR/CO/3 (CESCR, 2011).

ICERD 5: States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights:(e)(v) The right to education
and training.
CERD: Expressing concern that, in some regions of Spain, there are “ghetto” schools for migrant and Gypsy children. CERD/C/ESP/CO/18-20 (CERD, 2011).

CERD: Recommending that Norway find appropriate solutions for integrating children from Roma and Romani communities into the educational system to ensure that they benefit fully from all levels of the system, taking into account the community’s lifestyle and including an enhanced teaching provision in their language. CERD/C/NOR/CO/19-20 (CERD, 2011).

CERD: Recommending that Demark provide a general educational policy to cover all groups and take appropriate measures to assess whether people of other ethnic groups require mother-tongue teaching. CERD/C/DNK/CO/18-19 (CERD, 2010).

CERD: Recommending that Vietnam take vigorous measures to ensure equal enjoyment of the right to education by, inter alia, increasing the financial assistance provided for students from economically disadvantaged families in all communities, and improving the quality of teaching and the curriculum. Furthermore, the State party should: increase the provision of bilingual education programs for ethnic minority children and of training in local languages for Kinh teachers in ethnic minority areas; recruit more ethnic minority teachers; allow ethnic minority languages to be taught and used as a medium of instruction in schools; and support education programs on the culture of ethnic minority groups. CERD/C/VNM/CO/10-14 (CERD, 2012).

CEDAW 12: State Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education. CEDAW Committee: Recommending measures to ensure equal access to education and ensure retention of girls in school in Turkey CEDAW/C/TUR/CO/6 (CEDAW, 2010) and Mauritius CEDAW/C/MUS/CO/6-7 (CEDAW, 2011).

CEDAW Committee: Recommending that Montenegro adopt temporary special measures to increase enrolment and completion rates of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian girls and boys. CEDAW/C/MNE/CO/1 (CEDAW, 2011).

Other Interpretations 

SR Education: encouraging Mexico to strengthen the services for families who migrate within the country, known as day laborers (jornaleros). In order to provide them with opportunities to obtain quality education, the school terms should be brought into line with the farming seasons, and the coverage should be expanded to include secondary education; it is also essential to harmonize the education service with the work obligations of working parents and young people. A/HRC/14/25/ADD.4 (SR Education, 2010).

SR Education: finding that Paraguay urgently needs resources to solve infrastructure problems and or drinking water, school meals, culturally diverse teaching materials, teacher training and affirmative measures of all kinds to ensure that the poorest members of the community can get into educational establishments and stay there (the university gives certain indigenous people immediate access but does not meet their needs). A/HRC/14/25/ADD.2 (SR Education, 2010).