Sharon Harrall


The UN Declaration of Human Rights, ratified in 1948, declared for the first time the right to education as a human right. Article 26 (1) states that “everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.” Since then, the right to education has been reaffirmed in subsequent treaties and global conferences. These treaties have also highlighted the need to provide education to all children without discrimination, and particularly to ensure equal access for girls. Historically, we have seen great gender disparities in the enrollment rates of primary schools, but through these treaties the international community has committed to overcoming such inequality.

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