Recognizing Early Childhood Education as a Human Right in International Law
28 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021
Date Written: July 16, 2021
Despite clear evidence that early learning opportunities shape long-term development and health, early childhood education has been largely overlooked. The right to education, enshrined in three legally binding treaties ratified by almost all States, does not expressly refer to early childhood education but does assert that the right to education should be directed to the full development of the child. 264 reports by UN monitoring bodies for the three treaties from 152 countries from 2015-2020 were systematically analysed to assess whether and how international law interprets the right to early childhood education. All three international treaties require States to fulfil a clear set of obligations: to provide affordable, accessible, quality early childhood care and education with adequate financial, technical and human resources which is inclusive and non-discriminatory. Systematising and aligning these obligations will improve States’ accountability and guide them in the delivery of early learning opportunities.
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