Education in the 21st Century: Human Rights and Individual Actions
Lee, Sharon Elizabeth
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This dissertation has three goals. The first goal is to outline how twentieth century advocates qualify education as a human right. The second goal is to offer an integrative account which argues that, to defend a right to education both the provision of educational resources and the freedom to do something with those resources must be taken into account. This requires more than the rhetoric of a UN document like the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also requires more than the good intentions of duty-bound adults acting in the best interests of the child. To do this, it is necessary to consider how the institutional structure dedicated to education - in particular the structure dedicated to basic primary education to which the UN claims all children are entitled - integrates with the freedom each child has to do something with that basic primary education once he or she has obtained it. Finally, by identifying education as a human right within this integrative structure, this dissertation will demonstrate that, if policy documents related to education shift from a focus on the traditional relationship between an experienced adult and a dependent child to one based on the relationship between an individual and a capability set, the claim that education is a human right becomes a meaningful claim which can provide a justification for the social commitments required to recognize this claim.