CRC Compulsory Education

Many of us believe that education should be rooted in human dignity and the best interests of the child – not in politics, profit, or administrative convenience.

If this includes you, you are invited to join the growing movement of people from all around the world to create inclusive conversations about what we want the word ‘compulsory’ to mean for education going forward!

Did you know that there are at least two completely different interpretations for the word ‘compulsory’ in education? For many people it has come to mean governments forcing parents to force children to attend school.

However, what it meant when it was included in human rights documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is not that at all.

The Committee that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first international recognition of Education as a Right, explicitly stated that “elementary education shall be compulsory” meant that “no one (neither the State, nor the family) could prevent the child from receiving elementary education and that the idea of coercion was in no way implied”. From a Human Rights perspective, ‘compulsory’ is about obliging every state to provide real access to good quality educational options to each and every child for free. Many of us believe that active involvement by communities and parents – as well as empowering young people to help shape things – is key to making this possible.

We invite you to explore this webpage, and get involved. If you’d like more information on becoming active in this campaign, please send us a message at

What we have achieved so far

  1. 2023 Oct 19: The 30th International Democratic Conference 2023 in Nepal adopted a resolution addressed to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
  2. 2023 Nov 13: The resolution was sent to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
  3. 2023 Nov 18: Timed release of this Press Release, with coverage in: