Why Don’t We Consider Quality Education, a Basic Human Right?

Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of their person. As human beings, we have clear and inalienable rights that secure our freedom as individuals in a variety of ways. According to the United Nations Human Rights office, these standards hold true for every person across the globe regardless of their race, religion, or any other variable.

Understanding what your basic human rights are is fundamental to ensuring that you are treated fairly in every circumstance. Unfortunately, these inherent privileges may be lacking essential items. One substantial piece lacking the necessary details in the bill of the thirty basic human rights is education.

Why don’t we consider education a fundamental human right, the same as our right to life, the freedom to voice an opinion, or the right to take part in government?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was designed to be the very foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world. These core values underpin society as a whole, regardless of location. Is there anything more essential to supporting those values than schooling?

In fact, the right to learn is recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 26. The catch is that it does not adequately outline or detail the content of a what an “elementary education” should encompass. Many countries have yet to adopt what would be categorized as an elementary education for every individual.

Girls tend to be denied these basics more frequently than their male counterparts, though it is not uncommon to see both shun education for less favorable pursuits. They may be forced to drop out of school to assist the family financially. They may also be forced to work as child soldiers in defense of their country from an early age.

With few safeguards in place to preserve the sanctity of education, many children tend to wander away or be forced into more “productive” pastimes.

In many countries that have yet to adopt the more rigorous foundations of an educational system, these core values tend to be pushed to the wayside. They are trampled upon when people do not have the necessary knowledge of their inalienable rights or the best way to defend them. When a generation is raised without a solid education, they may not be able to realize all of their rights as human beings fully.

Individuals without an education are more susceptible to poverty and oppression than those who have developed the ability to think critically and understand the essentials of economic development. We do not give them the tools they need for future success, either socially or economically, when we deny them of this fundamental human right.

Too often, we question how the world has reached this current state of affairs. In the eyes of many, a basic education could mean more significant gains in combating global poverty and oppression. The Global Partnership for Education notes that 61 million children are denied this basic right, a number that is far too high.

If those 61 million children were given access to the essential tools needed to learn the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic, there would be more voices offering solutions to our major world conflicts. The most celebrated leaders often arise from within the communities that are struggling. These individuals can more accurately assess where the current system is falling short and implement new strategies to better their own lives alongside the infrastructure of the community.

Education is the key to empowering a new generation to lift their communities out of poverty and to defend their basic human rights. The Right to Education Project cites naming a solid foundation with education as both a tool for empowerment and as an essential component to allow individual personality to develop.

Even though education could be a linchpin for solving many of our global economic crises, many gray areas prevent it from reaching its full potential. These should be better developed over the coming years to enforce this fundamental human right and to help it reach its full potential for generations to come.


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