Realising the right to education through strategic public interest lawyering
Professor Sandra Fredman and Dr Meghan Campbell (Faculty of Law, Oxford) are working with international partners in the UK, South Africa, and India to share expertise on using legal practice to make the right to education a reality.
The fundamental right to education for children across the world is being routinely breached by governments. Increasingly, governments are arguing that private educational providers can met the deficit of provision in the state sector. How can the state fulfil its obligation to make the right to free, quality education for all a reality? Is this a legally enforceable right, and can it be enforced by international human rights organisations? Learning Lessons from Litigators: Realising the Right to Education Through Public Interest Lawyering, an online course, explores the role of lawyers and courts in upholding a right to education for the most marginalized and disadvantaged learners.
A Knowledge Exchange project exploring these issues has beenundertaken by Prof Fredman (founder and Director of the Oxford Human Rights Hub) - an authority in the field of human rights law, with a wealth of practical experience advising public interest lawyers working in the area of education; and Dr Campbell (Deputy Director of the Hub), who has specialist knowledge in international human rights law and issues of gender equality in education. Their partners are the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa, and the Centre for Law and Policy Research in India, which both have experience of challenging governments on issues such as school facilities and teacher provisions, but also on structural reforms and governmental non-compliance.
Funding from Oxford's ESRC Impact Acceleration Award means that the project team have been able to share experiences with their partners on using strategic litigation to realise a right to education; to demonstrate the potential of courts and international human rights mechanisms as an additional form of activism; and to plan online video course resources to aid practitioners who are campaigning, advocating, or litigating for the right to education. The project team have also secured funding from the Open Society Foundations in order to develop this online material as a second phase to the project.
Key Project Activities
• Sharing experience of using strategic litigation in order to create best practice guidance.
• Planning Phase 2 of the project, which will create a four-part series of free online course exploring the promise and pitfalls of litigation video training resources.