oclamation of the UDHR, education and human rights became inextricably linked. The UDHR places obligations on member-states to uphold human rights. Governments are, in this sense, duty-bearers. For the protection of human rights, those who serve in government and work in public services need to be cognizant of their obligation to act in accordance with human rights principles and law. In other words, all individuals, as rights holders and as duty bearers, need education in human rights.
Article 26 of the UDHR asserts a universal right to education, which should be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Continuing and higher education must be available and equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Some 60 years after the adoption of the UDHR, the global community has yet to realize universal and free primary education, which was one of the 8-millennium development goals (MDGs) that world leaders committed themselves to achieve by 2015. This goal is matched by another on gender equality. The mid-term evaluation of progress towards the MDGs noted a reduction in the numbers of children without schooling. Despite this, the global number of children out-of-school amounted to 73 million in 2006, including 38 million in sub-Saharan Africa and 18 million in South Asia. Completion rates remain low and only a small minority of sub-Saharan young people access secondary education. Gender inequality persists, with girls accounting for 57 percent of those out of school. Girls from ethnic, religious or caste minorities are especially disadvantaged, accounting for 75 percent of the 55 million girls who are out-of-school.
Aims of Education
Article 26 of the UDHR specifies the aims of education, which include ‘the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms’; the promotion of ‘understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups’; and enabling ‘the maintenance of ...