Operationalizing Sustainable Development Goal 4 : A review of national legislations on the right to education
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This paper is an analytical synthesis, drawing on the findings of the 11 country reports, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Haiti, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal and Senegal. It presents the current state of national laws and suggests areas of legal reforms to support progress towards SDG4. The analysis and recommendations formulated for each country demonstrate that reinforcing the national legal framework - if fully implemented - will lay important foundations for SDG4 in securing the right to education. This synthesis highlights common trends, while acknowledging the various degrees of development of national legal frameworks. The reports use a rights-based approach and exclusively focus on SDG4 targets 4.1, 4.2 and 4.5. These three targets were chosen as there is an international consensus on the direct implications of these targets, as reflected in the Framework for Action and Incheon Declaration. The absence of legal provisions may severely compromise their achievement. National legal implications arising from the Framework for Action are clear when it comes to ensuring 12 years of free education, of which at least nine years are compulsory (target 4.1), introducing one year of free and compulsory pre-primary education (target 4.2) and eliminating all forms of discrimination (target 4.5). This does not mean that the other targets would not also have legal implications, but there is currently no common agreement at the international level on these implications in order to cover the right to education comprehensively (encompassing aspects relating to other levels and forms of education, financing, governance, private provision, etc.). An analytical framework was developed with a list of legal implications derived from each individual target. Table 1 summarizes those implications.