UNESCO’s Convention Against Discrimination in Education (CADE, 1960) which is the first instrument in the field of the right to education defined education in article 1(2) as “ all types and levels of education, including access to education, the standard and quality of education and the conditions under which it is given”.
CADE and many other international and regional human rights instruments have provisions on the right to education. Nigeria being a signatory to these instruments has taken steps to adhere to these provisions. Notable amongst these steps was the domestication of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its adoption as the Child Rights Act in 2003. This law has not been effective throughout the Federation as only 23 states have enacted it into state laws. Provisions on Right to Education in Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even though regarded as non-justiciable have been given effect and made justiciable by other domestic laws such as the Universal Basic Education Act as well case law, amongst others also support this.
The actualization of promoting the Right to Education is however bedeviled by issues such as low enrolment of children particularly the girl child, low completion of basic education, i.e high rate of drop out especially boys in the South – Eastern Zone of the country, shortage and poor-quality infrastructures in schools e.g classrooms, water, electricity, toilets and furniture amongst others.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in line with its mandate to promote and protect human rights has established Right to Education as a thematic area of focus to drive its vision of having all children enrolled in school as well as to ensure that the culture of human rights is promoted and maintained in schools.
The Commission also recognizes that the realization of the right to education empowers holders to claim other human rights. It therefore requires the collective effort of all Citizens; parents in particular, the civil society and the government in ensuring that Right to Education as guaranteed by the constitution and other international and regional instruments that Nigeria is a party to are fully enjoyed and the corresponding duties and responsibilities fulfilled.