Publication: Achieving SDG4 through a Human Rights Based Approach to Education

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Moriarty, Kate
Quality education is a critical dimension for the achievement of sustainable development. The renewed political commitment set out in sustainable development goal 4 (SDG4) is an opportunity to ensure strong coherence between education policy and the right to education first articulated more than 70 years ago. This paper presents the results of a desk-based study on a human rights-based approach to education (HRBAE) in the context of SDG4. It explores the ways in which such an approach can guide policy, planning, and the delivery of education in observance with agreed international frameworks providing for the right to education. The paper argues that the human rights conventions on the right to education are not passive instruments designed to remain only at the level of discourse but, as legal obligations, require action from the state and should be central in the development of education services, including in the context of large scale displacement and crisis. This paper outlines the legally binding commitments of the right to education. It considers how these can be applied practically through a HRBA-E to address the continuing barriers to access and completion of quality education and learning. The paper is structured in four sections that examine: (1) the promise of education and the scale of unfulfilled obligations; (2) the conceptual roots of a human-rights approach and its application to education; (3) how a HRBA-E is central to issues critical for the achievement of SDG4, such as learning, equity, and financing; and (4) the issue of accountability: the World Bank and human rights, final reflections on a HBRA-E and SDG4.
Moriarty, Kate. 2017. Achieving SDG4 through a Human Rights Based Approach to Education. World Development Report 2018 Background Paper;. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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