Human Rights And Right To Education

Education shall be directed to the full development of Human Personality and to the strengthening of respect for HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS”[1]

Education plays a very important role in the development of Human Resources. Education is the only instrument which has been considered important tool in the transmission of values and for the accumulation of knowledge of a society. Thus broadly, speaking education refers to any act that has direct and indirect effect on the personality of an individual. “A key and most prominent pillar of education is learning, how to live in peace and harmony”. This process of education involves the three important processes; first of all, strengthening one’s owns identity, self worth and self confidence.

Secondly, it provides learning to appreciate the cultures of others, to respect others as individual and groups. Thirdly, to apply the same ethical principle to decisions about other people that one would apply within one’s own culture. These are the key processes of education which tend to play a very important and crucial point in the life of human beings in the modern world of science and technology. Man has recognised as a supreme creature of all species on earth, yet man is the only one who has unpardonable record of his own destruction and degradation.

Thus in the threshold of new millennium, today we are witnessing mass violations of Human rights within the nations.

“If we want to preserve this humanity we need to adopt the values of Human Rights through Education”.


“Education is the most powerful weapon which can use to change the world”-Nelson Mandela

Education plays a cardinal role in transforming a nation into civilized nation. It accelerates the progress of the country in every sphere of national interest and activities. Education operates as ‘Multiplier’ by enhancing the entitlement of all individual rights and freedom. Education has referred as a key to unlock and protect other human rights. It embodies all civil, political, social, economical and cultural rights. It is the duty of the state to do all it could, to educate every section of citizens who need a helping hand in marching ahead along with others.[2]

According to sociological perspective[3] education does not arise in response to individual needs, but it arises according to the needs of the societies. The educational system of the society is related and derived from the social pattern followed by the people. In a static society, the main function of the education is to transmit the cultural heritage to the new generations. But in the dynamic society (changing society) the main function of the education is not only to transmit the cultural heritage but also aid in preparing the youth for the adjustments to any changes in them that may have occurred  or likely to occur in future.  The right to education directly flows from the ‘right to life’ as right to life and dignity of an individual cannot be assured unless it accompanied with right to education.[4]

The right to education is the fundamental right that establish the proximate relationship with life of the individual, protection of environment, eradication of untouchability and other related rights of humanity. The right of education has been recognised as “Human Right” by the United Nations and is made to establish an entitlement to free, compulsory primary education for all children, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all children, as well as equitable access to higher education and a responsibility to provide basic education to all the individual who do not have the primary education.

In addition to all the objectives mentioned above, the right to education also encompasses also the obligation to eliminate discrimination of all sets that have been prevailing in the society in order to improve and provide each and every individual a quality life which provides Right to life, personal liberty, equal opportunities to develop himself to the fullest extent.

Thus, Education is that primary vehicle from which the Human beings derive social, political, cultural, economical and civil rights without which the Human existence in any man made society won’t be possible.


Human beings are rational beings. They by virtue of their being human possess certain basic and inalienable rights which are commonly known as “Human Rights”. Since these rights belong to them because of their existence they become operative with their birth. Human rights being the Birth Right are therefore, inherent in all individuals irrespective of their caste, creed, colour, religion, sex and nationality. Because of their immense significance to human being; Human rights are also sometimes referred to as fundamental rights, basic rights, inherent rights, natural rights and birth rights[5].

In general terms Human Rights may be referred as all those rights that all people have by virtue of being human are human rights. The idea of human rights is bound up with the idea of Human Dignity. Chief Justice of India, J.S Verma has rightly stated that ‘Human dignity is quintessence of human rights’[6]. All those rights which are essential for the protection and maintenance of dignity of individuals and create conditions in which every human being can develop his personality to the fullest extent may be termed as “Human Rights”[7]. Modern concept of Human rights is that the rights possessed by the Human beings in their natural capacity of being human and not because of any particular system of law under which they happen to live.


According to Amnesty International defines “Human Rights Education” as a deliberate, participatory practice aimed at empowering individual, groups and communities through fostering knowledge, skills and attitudes consistent with internationally recognized Human Rights Principle.[8] As a medium for long term processes, Human Rights Education seeks to develop and integrate people’s affective, cognitive and attitudinal dimensions including critical thinking to human rights. Education in itself is a goal to build the culture of respect for and action in the defence and promotion of Human Rights for all.

Human Right Education is not just for Human Rights i.e., acquiring knowledge. It is also an education for Human Rights, helping people to feel the importance and need off Human Rights, to integrate them in a way they live and to take action to promote and protect the rights of other on individual, local, national and at international level. Human right education directly contributes to improve the life of both individuals and the community.

It is an education which not only provides understanding of one’s own rights and therefore inculcation of one’s own rightful place in the society also fostering an attitude of tolerance, goodwill and removal of prejudices towards fellow human beings. Human rights Education is all about helping people to develop to the point where they understand Human rights and where they feel that they are important and should be respected and defended.[9]


The increasing recognition of the universal right to learn about human rights is making Human Right Education, a vital part throughout the world. In recent years there has been tremendous growth in how we think about and apply Human Rights ideals. Values of tolerance, equality and respect can help to reduce friction within the society. Putting Human Rights Education into practice can help us to create the kind of society we want to live in.

Human Rights are an important part of how people interact with others at all levels in society-in family, community, in schools, in groups, in workplace, in politics and international relations. It is important that people everywhere should strive to understand what Human rights are.

“When people better understand Human rights, it will be easier for them to promote justice and the well –being of society. Human rights education develops awareness that there is a guarantee of equality before law”.



The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on 10th December 1948 and two International Covenants were adopted in 1966 codifying the two sets of Rights outlined in the universal Declaration. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights came into force in 1976. The Declaration has been hailed as an historic event of the profound significance and as one of the greatest achievements of the United Nations.

The declaration’……… is the mines from which other conventions as well as national constitutions protecting these rights have been are being quarried.[10]


It is as follows;

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the Human family is the foundation of the freedom, Justice and peace in the world”.

The General Assembly proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for the people, and of all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of the society, shall strive by education to promote respect of these rights and freedom and by international measures shall try to secure the universal and effective recognition of the Human Rights by the member states among the people of their territories under their jurisdiction. Thus, under Article 26 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights deals with Right to Education. It has been considered important from the viewpoint that Right to education is a Human, Fundamental right that every individual of the society is entitled to have.

Education shall be directed to the full development of Human Personality and to the strengthening of respect for HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS”[11]


The International Conference of Human rights at Tehran has pointed out that without “Education the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights the implementations of Civil and Political Rights was not at all possible.[12] The International Covenant of Social, Economic and Cultural Rights include the following Rights; Right to work[13], Right to education[14], Right to health[15], Right to adequate food[16], Right to culture and Social Security[17] and Right to adequate standard of living[18].

“EDUCATION is the special mainstream of man.

EDUCATION is the treasure which can be preserved without the fear of the loss

EDUCATION secures material pleasure, happiness and fame.

EDUCATION is GOD in carnate.

EDUCATION secures the honour of the hands of the State, not money.

“The child is a soul with a being, a nature and capacities of its own, who must be helped so find them, to grow into their maturity, into a fullness of physical and vital energy and the utmost breadth, depth and height of its emotional, intellectual and spiritual being; otherwise there cannot be a healthy growth of the nation”.- Justice P.N Bhagwati

[1] Article 26 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948

[2] Quadri, J. T.M.A.Pai Foundation Vs. State of Karnataka (2002) 8 SCC 481 as a referred in P.A.Inamdar Vs. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 6 SCC 537 p.588 Para 85.

[3] Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Education the Hope for a Better World, (Sterling Publishers Private Limited, 2010.) p.11- 14

[4] Mohini Jain Vs. Union of India AIR 1992 SC 1858

[5] Maurice Cranston quoted in L.J Macfarlane.”The Theory and Practice of Human Rights “ (1985) P.7

[6] David P. Forsyte, “The Internationalization of Human Rights” p.1.

[7] Observation of Justice P.N Bhagwati in Maneka Gandhi V. Union of India, A.I.R. 1978 SC PP 597,619.

[8] Oppenheim’s , “International Law “, Volume 1, 9th Edition edited by Sir Robert Jennings and Sir Arthur Watts, p.847

[9] Henle, S.J., “ A Catholic view of Human Rights”, A Thomistic Reflection in Alan S. Rosenbaun,1980 p. 1445

[10] J. E.S. Fawcett, The Law of Nations(1968), p.158; See also Percy E. Corbett, The Growth of World Law (1971), pp. 181-182.

[11] Article 26 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948

[12] United Nations action in the field of human rights, United Nations, New York and Geneva, 1994, p. 131, Para. 1142

[13] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Article 6

[14] Ibid. Article 13 and 14.

[15] Ibid. Article 12.

[16] Ibid. Article 11, Para 2

[17] Ibid. Article 15 and Article 9

[18] Ibid. Article 11.

Pranav Kaushal

Pranav Kumar Kaushal, Content Writter, Law Corner, Student B.A., LLB 7th Semester, School of Law, Bahra University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

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