Header image for news printout

“Education is a human right and must be protected from economic turbulence” – UN expert

GENEVA (6 July 2011) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education today said world leaders must acknowledge that education is a fundamental human rights which must be protected from economic difficulties.

Speaking on the occasion of the annual meeting of the High-level Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which is currently taking place in Geneva, Kishore Singh reminded States that their rhetoric on education must be backed up by adequate funding. According to latest figures, 67 million children worldwide remain out of school. Singh added that among those lucky enough to get into classrooms, many receive bad quality education.

“Education is a human right and must be protected from turbulence,” Singh said. “National budgets must recognize the need for increased and sustained investment in education. Decreasing domestic and international support to this crucial sector in periods of economic crisis can affect the destiny of an entire generation.”

Singh said it was disappointing that in a number of countries, military spending continues to outpace expenditure on primary education.

“Given the central role of education in the promotion of development, it is equally disappointing to see that international aid levels continue to fall short of the amount required to close the financial gap in low-income countries,” he added.

“Recognizing education as a fundamental right is vital to ensure adequate progress towards the achievement of the Education for All goals to which over 160 countries committed themselves in 2000. Ensuring universal access to primary education of good quality is not a mere policy choice but a human rights obligation.”


Mr. Kishore was appointed the Special Rapporteur on the right to education in August 2010 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. He is independent from any government or organization.

Learn more about the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur, visit http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/education/rapporteur/index.htm

Learn more about ECOSOC: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/

For further information and media requests, please contact:

For more information or interviews, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 or rcolville@ohchr.org) or press officers: Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 or rshamdasani@ohchr.org)  or Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 or xcelaya@ohchr.org)

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media: