CRITICAL ANALYSIS ON THE RIGHT OF CHILDREN TO EDUCATION UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW: A CASE STUDY ON NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
The childhood years have been identified as the most vulnerable years of one’s life, as the child 1 to a very large extent depends on its parents or guardians for survival. Any omission or commission on the part of the parents or guardian can make or mar the child for life. Under Public International law, the child is recognized as among the vulnerable persons whose rights must be protected and one of such rights that must be promoted and protected is the right to education2.
It has been said that education and enlightenment are two nuclei to a proper understanding of what human rights are and the modus operandi in their enjoyment. So for a person to understand and appreciate the entirety of his rights as a human he must be educated first. To deny a person education especially in his early years is akin to denial of life.
1. A child has been defined by the Article 1 of the Convention on the Right of the Child 1989 as well as Child Right Act as a person under 18 years. So teenagers are included.
2. Article 1 of the World Declaration on the Right of the Child to Education 1990
3. Arinze – Umobi, D. C., The Nigeria Girl – Child, Right to Education and the Nexus with National Development.
It is also said that education is the greatest force that can be used to bring about change and also the greatest investment that a nation can make for the quick development of its economic, political, sociological and human resources4. A nation whose citizenry are majorly uneducated is sure to be under developed and stagnated. Illiteracy has been traced as the major root cause of poverty and education is identified as the surest route out of poverty especially for most children in the developing countries.
Public international law recognizes children’s right to education as a fundamental human right which guarantees the full enjoyment of all other rights as contained in international legal instruments5.
In fact under international law every individual, irrespective of race, gender, nationality, ethnic or social origin, religious or political preference, age or disability is entitled to a free elementary education 6. This right was explicitly enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948 which stated thus, “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free at least in the elementary and fundamental stages, Elementary education shall be compulsory…7’
4. International law and the Right to Education/Report to education www.right-to-education.org/nude/234 accessed 13/2/13
5. International legal investment for example:Universal Declaration on Human Right 1948 (UDHR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right ( ICESCR) 1966, International Covenant on Cultural and political Right ( ICCPR) 1966
6. Article 1 UDHR 1948