Right to education

Education is an economic and social right, similar to the right to housing and the right to decent work. Our commitments to education can be found in a number of international agreements that Canada, and many other countries around the world, have signed. In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goal 4 which states that signatories should work towards inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote lifelong-learning opportunities for all.

Much like other social and economic rights, including the right to food or the right to income security, the realization of the right to education in advanced economies such as Canada has lagged behind political and civil rights. A right to education means that education is guaranteed for all without discrimination; that states have an obligation to protect, respect and fulfil this right; and that states need to be held accountable for violations of this right.

The right to education matters because it is also a means to achieving other rights. If you have access to education, you are more likely to know your rights, and know how to advocate for yourself and for others. Education empowers people and acts as an enabler for realizing your other rights.

Our work on education includes exploring what a right to education means in an advanced economy. In addition, we are interested in understanding how human rights education strengthens peoples’ abilities to advocate for themselves and others when their rights are violated.

Learn more about our work: