Right to Education

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

ACEI celebrates International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, recognized on 9 August as called for by resolution 49/214 of the United Nations General Assembly. This year, the International Day is dedicated to Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Education.

The right of indigenous peoples to education is protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which specifies that “indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also protects the right of indigenous peoples to education, as do the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 4 calls for ensuring equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and children in vulnerable situations.

Nevertheless, indigenous peoples continue to face challenges in accessing their right to education, particularly their right to education provided in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning and with full recognition of the diversity of their cultures. Research continues to find disparities between the indigenous and the non-indigenous populations, in terms of educational access, retention, and achievement, in all regions of the world. The persistence of this marginalization reflects historical abuses and discrimination and highlights the need for advocacy on behalf of these peoples to ensure equality and respect for their rights.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples event at UN Headquarters, 9 August, in the ECOSOC Chamber from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., will be webcast live on webtv.un.org. Highlights from the forthcoming publication “State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Volume III,” which will address this topic of indigenous peoples and education, will be discussed at a special event in observance of the International Day.

More information:

On Twitter, follow #WeAreIndigenous and @UN4Indigenous

UNESCO's web page for the International Day.

Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Education (pdf)

Anne Bauer