The Human Right to Education: Definition, Research and Annotated Bibliography

49 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2019

See all articles by Jootaek Lee

Jootaek Lee

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Law School; Northeastern University - School of Law

Date Written: November 18, 2019


The role and function of education cannot be emphasized enough. Education enhances and develops human abilities, consciousness, identity, integrity, potential, and even power. However, no literature or other instrument comprehensively and consistently defines education. This inconsistent approach to the human right to education is more harmful than beneficial.

Numerous international instruments, articles, treatises, and national laws relating to the human right to education have been drafted and published since World War II. International law has been used to pierce state sovereignty to protect a state’s citizens against the abusive use of state powers. Accordingly, research in this field to protect the human right to education has become diversified, complicated, and interdisciplinary. Research has focused on outcomes or contexts of education, applying a wide variety of theories including human capital theories, theories of consciousness-raising, and Neo-Weberian and non-Marxist theories. Further, international instruments should be considered holistically, including treaties, international custom, general principles of law, cases, and soft law from various intergovernmental and nongovernmental organization reports and documents. Domestic laws, including state law and local ordinances, should also be considered because the legal right to education is applied and implemented differently among different states.

Considering a wide variety of international instruments and literature, this Article will seek to provide a comprehensive and consistent definition of the human right to education. This Article will also provide an annotated bibliography of various sources which can facilitate the research of scholars and practitioners in this field. A list of primary source instruments, including domestic laws of selective countries, is also introduced.

Keywords: Human Rights, Human Right to Education, Definition, Human Rights Education, Social Right, International Law, Bill of Rights, Contemporary Human Rights, Research, Bibliography, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan

JEL Classification: K00, K33, K30

Suggested Citation

Lee, Jootaek, The Human Right to Education: Definition, Research and Annotated Bibliography (November 18, 2019). Emory International Law Review, Vol. 34, No. 3, 2019, Available at SSRN:

Jootaek Lee (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Law School ( email )

123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07120
United States

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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