Should education be made a fundamental right ? Why?    Should education be made a fundamental right ? Why?  

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lfawley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An educated society is a stronger society. This is one way that China has managed to advance as rapidly as it has - compulsory education. It isn't enough to make education a fundamental right - if you make it mandatory for all then you raise the level of the society as a whole. Look at it this way - when all of society has attained a minimal level of education then each individual is functioning at a level that is capable of becoming a productive part of that society's work force. On the other hand, the uneducated members of society often cannot perform even simple tasks in an industrialized culture because they lack simple skills such as reading, writing, and basic communication. This leads to a class of people who become, instead of productive members of society, a burden on that society.

That said, I am talking about compulsory education and you are asking about fundamental rights. Where I do see a difference comes with regard to attitude. By calling education a right, we make it something that people feel they deserve to have handed to them and they don't want to WORK for it. This is what I see wrong with education in general. Students do not see education as something that they are being given a chance to have but it is their responsibility to work for it. Instead they see it as something that is owed to them and as such they do not value it at all. Here is where making it a right can lead to a slippery slope.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though some may not like to admit it, the right to an education, even in a place like the United States, which supposedly is providing a free and fair education to all of its young people, is far more deeply affected by things outside of the government's control.  There are certainly ways that the government could do a far better job of addressing the needs of people with less money and opportunity, but some of the most important things that determine how well a child will do in our current educational system all happen (or don't happen) before the child ever crosses the threshold of a school.

If a child has books read to them every night as a small child, they will do better on almost every measure of "education" that we currently have, standardized tests, grades, etc.  You cannot go back and change this when the child is fifteen years old.

So even if education were considered a fundamental right, and in many places you can make the argument that it is, there are barriers to equality that have to be addressed before pretending that an educational system can do the job by itself.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Quoting brettd: "Maybe it shouldn't be a "right" per se, but as I like to say, we're going to spend the money one way or the other - either on schools and students, or on prisons and social supports like food stamps and welfare payments.  We might as well spend it on the proactive side."

You make a good point.  There seems to be a pervasive attitude in public school today that if it is "free" I shouldn't have to work for it.  Part of me wants to respond to this attitude with an end to free public education.  But I agree that society would certainly pay more for this in the long run.  There has to be a solution however, to providing education as a "fundamental right" but not allowing the system to be taken advantage of.  Can we limit free education to exactly 12 years?  Meaning, if a student cannot graduate from high school in the given four years, perhaps the remaining credits needed to graduate would not come for free.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that this question is a powerful one that immediately runs into the notion of how this can be accomplished.  Education should be a fundamental right because of its importance on so many levels.  Any democratic based order or a political setting where individuals have some level of autonomy must have educated citizens in order to make proper decisions.  At the same time, the higher the education one has, the more opportunities they are afforded.  In times of economic challenges, it is vitally important to have as many options available and education helps to provide this.  I think that ensuring this is of vital importance and governments have to devise multiple ways of ensuring that this is the case.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Simply put, yes.  Just as health care and equal protection under the law are or should be rights.  Education is a prime determinant of a person's ability to earn a living and the generations that follow that person.  A well educated population raises the overall standard of living, and lowers the per capita tax burden, since average income is higher.

Maybe it shouldn't be a "right" per se, but as I like to say, we're going to spend the money one way or the other - either on schools and students, or on prisons and social supports like food stamps and welfare payments.  We might as well spend it on the proactive side.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Education is the backbone to the strength of our nation. Education is so very important on numerous levels. It is important that people work for their education though. In order to get a good education, a person has to spend time learning and put a lot of effort into it. Not all kids now days want to do this. I find that some kids feel that they think it is okay to do whatever they want to do. When a teacher tries to explain to them that education is important they simply do not care. They do not appreciate what we are trying to give them, and that's a good education that they will need to be productive adults.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous poster addressed a significant problem for many students (and parents) in public education. Yes they pay for it from taxes, but because the money doesn't come directly from their pocket or checkbook, they see it as not have great value. In our school we have the same students repeating core classes two or three times in a row--they put no effort into the class. What if parents had to pay the tuition the second time a kid had to take the core class due to lack of effort?

krishna-agrawala | Student

If we think of education as a process by which individuals acquire  skills and knowledge that help them to achieve their potential, then the right to be educated is as important to to right to freedom and freedom of speech. However, if we want to include it as a fundamental right protected by the constitution of countries, we will need to have greater clarity on exactly what kind of threats are currently posed to the right of people to get educated, and what role legal provisions will play in protecting this right.

As I see, presently their are no serious threats to the right of people to education. Therefore, I do not see how changing the constitution to include education as a fundamental right will help people to get better education.

Current levels of education in many countries, including India are not as high one would like them to be. But this unsatisfactory level of education is not because laws current laws of the land permit denial of right to education to people. It is because of lack of facilities for education, pressure of poverty, and culture in some sections of society, which does not attach much value to education. Changes in constitution will not have much impact on these causes of low education. Just as right to life guaranteed by constitution does help in reducing high rate of morality due to various reasons like malnutrition, diseases, and accidents, making education a fundamental right is not likely to have much impact on improving levels of education.

anjanj | Student

Education is the most potent mechanism for the advancement of human beings. It enlarges, enriches and improves the individual's image of the future. A man without education is no more than an animal.

Education emancipates the human beings and leads to liberation from ignorance. According to Pestalozzi, education is a constant process of development of innate powers of man which are natural, harmonious and progressive. It is said that in the Twenty First Century, 'a nation's ability to convert knowledge into wealth and social good through the process of innovation is going to determine its future,' accordingly twenty first century is termed as century of knowledge .Today, it is principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural value, in preparing him for later professional training and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. "It is said that child is the future of nation".The quality of education of the child will determine the quality of life in nation. Both at national and International levels efforts are being made to educate more and more people as education contributes in the development of the society which is consistent with the dignity of the human being.

Though the number of literate people in India has increased over the years, she still has the largest number of uneducated children in the world - two-thirds of whom are girls. Government reports indicate that 59 million children between 6-14 years do not attend school. Official information further indicates that just a little over one-third of all children who enroll in grade one reach grade eight. All this for a country which has made education for children in the age group 6-14 years a fundamental right? Your help will go a long way in providing educational opportunities for children who would otherwise be left behind.

Everyone has the right to go to public school. This right does not matter what your culture is, your religious affiliation, your abilities, your physical disabilities or learning disabilities. We have a country (one of the only a few countries) that services students with emotional, learning, physical disabilities as well as to cater to Gifted and Talented students.

It should be a fundamental right because everyone is entitled to an education to make their lives better. Everyone should be given the opportunity to improve themselves and their lives.

Having education as a fund mental right not only places the United States is a high status of other countries, it allows our citizens to make educated decisions on candidates, purchases (home/vehicles) and the ability to make budgets.

If our country did not have well established public schools our citizens would not be educated and our country would not be a world power with a population that was not educated.