Research Supports the Need to Recognize the Right to Free Early Childhood Education and Free Secondary Education

 We, the undersigned individuals, are scholars, experts, and researchers on the education, development, wellbeing, and rights of children and adolescents. We write to express our support for a new optional protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) focused on the right to free education.1 The aim of this initiative is to ensure recognition under international law of the right to free early childhood education and free secondary education, alongside the already-existing right to free and compulsory primary education. 

Well-established scientific evidence shows unequivocally that education is foundational to children’s healthy development, wellbeing, fulfilment of their full potential, and their lifelong prospects. Not only is education valuable in its own right, it has a multiplier effect—that is, education helps position children to secure their other rights during childhood and subsequently as adults. At a societal level, investing in education is any country’s most effective policy tool to ensure prosperity, social cohesion, and sustainable development. 


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