Education as a Foundational Human Right

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Updated: Aug 21, 2023
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As seen in a voguish society, education is a foundational human right. It is essentially an enabling right that creates various avenues for the exercise of other basic human rights. Once granted access, it can lubricate the fulfillment of other rights and freedoms, more specifically pertaining to children. Essentially, the lack of education allocation is detrimental to every fundamental right associated with the wellbeing of human beings. Consequently, the role of education for girls in particular as a forefront to nation states’ welfare cannot be exaggerated.

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As various scholars assert, the challenges and problems faced by the African girl, to enjoy her right to education, are multifaceted. Many of the difficulties faced include discrimination, child marriages, poverty, religious and cultural practices, and health issues. There are millions of young girls who are lacking access to a proper basic education in developing countries.

This crisis has sparked a bit of controversy, even in our contemporary society, as it is critical in the more remote and poor regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East. Although, “poor countries agreed to develop comprehensive, nationally owned strategies for achieving universal education. Such plans include a clear domestic fiscal objective and commitment to education reforms” (Herz and Sperling, 2019). The commitment was created from more than 180 countries in the UN Dakar Framework of Action on achieving universal education by 2015 for boys and girls. However, the target of this research is mainly focused on girls.

Having the acceptance of gender equality and the privilege to quality education in Sub-Saharan Africa would help to decrease the poverty rates and increase economic productivity because it will expand the impact that women have in business. The biased society in Sub-Saharan Africa unknowingly perpetuates disadvantaging situations by continuing the “ignorance is bliss” attitude towards girls’ education and figuratively restraining them from taking part in their local economies. Girls are raised in a society that institutionally disadvantages them while relying heavily on religious and cultural traditions. From the laws of the land to the culture that penetrates the lives of Sub-Saharan natives, girls are not seen as productive members to the economy. Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the poorest countries in the world, with some of the highest child labor and illiteracy rates.

In order for Africa to reach the universal education goal for all its children, specific efforts need to be clearly attempted by policymakers, such as addressing the social, economic and cultural barriers hindering a large portion of girls in less developed countries from attending school. Essentially, human capital enhancement is a critical element in reducing poverty. More importantly, the participation of children in primary and secondary schools plays a fundamental role in the development of social infrastructure in less developed countries. Primary education provides the foundation for a lifetime of learning. According to UNICEF Data (2019), “Providing universal access to, and ensuring the completion of, primary education for all girls and boys is one of the key areas of concern identified in the Beijing Platform for Action adopted in 1985.” There has been an extensive amount of research that has established that investing in girls’ education exhibits high results because it isn’t just limited to female educational attainment, but also for mother and children’s health, income growth, productivity, sustainable families, democracy and women empowerment in society (Herz and Sperling, 2019).

When the Saharan region is discussed, it is often associated with poor economic conditions and social disorder, typically linked to its Third World status. Although some of these assumptions are accurate, society as a whole has overlooked the tremendous potential this region holds. There are several factors the Saharan governments could consider if they aim to revitalize the region’s quality of life effectively and efficiently. A primary aspect is to improve vital facets of a functioning, healthy region, such as ensuring ALL children have access to quality education – a fundamental right. However, other issues significantly contribute to the ongoing complications the region faces. For Sub-Saharan Africa to develop fully and become an economically viable region, it must address its burgeoning population crisis, the HIV/AIDS epidemic’s prevention, and the comprehensive improvement of its educational systems. “Early marriage and teenage pregnancy are significant problems. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of girls marry before reaching 18, and African countries account for 15 of the 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage globally. The region also has the world’s highest prevalence of adolescent pregnancies” (Tibasima, 2019).

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Education as a Foundational Human Right. (2020, Sep 23). Retrieved from