Strategic Litigation Impacts: Equal Access to Quality Education

Strategic Litigation Impacts: Equal Access to Quality Education

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The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals include a commitment to “ensuring inclusive and quality education for all”—a recognition by the governments of the world that a child’s right to education is one of the keys to unlocking global human and economic development.

That right is protected by multiple human rights norms and treaties. But inadequate state spending and discrimination prevent millions from going to school, while keeping others trapped in substandard schools without textbooks, adequately trained teachers, and basic equipment such as desks, chairs, or even toilets. Poor children, ethnic minorities, girls, and children with disabilities are especially hard hit.

This comparative study, Strategic Litigation Impacts: Equal Access to Quality Education, is based on scores of interviews in Brazil, India, and South Africa, and examines the innovative ways that education advocates and social movements are harnessing the power of the judiciary to demand adequate basic education for all.

It shows that strategic litigation is no panacea: it can be slow, costly, and risky. But it also finds that strategic litigation has been effective―especially when combined with other forms of advocacy―in opening schools doors that were previously closed.

This report is the second part of a series of studies assessing the impact of strategic litigation around the world.