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OGIRISI: a New Journal of African Studies

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Beyond Basic Eductaion: Towards a pragmatarian justification for education as a human right

F Offor, RO Badru

Abstract


Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) confers on the human person, the right to free education in society. This implies that the human person is morally empowered and therefore justified to demand an access to education. By insisting that education be made free, Article 26 of the UDHR has made access to education a matter of right, since human rights are free conferment of nature. However, the education that Article 26 tried to justify here using the traditional moral rights arguments is the basic or elementary and fundamental stages of education. Postbasic education which includes technical and professional education and other advanced institutional learning, and which contributes more to a person’s socio-political, economic and technological development, would according to Article 26 “…be made generally available…and accessible to all on the basis of merit”. This caveat, the paper contends, places this level of education in need of further justification, so as to provide a moral basis for the citizens’ claim and indeed access to education generally, beyond the level of basic education. To achieve this, the essay deploys arguments from the pragmatic and utilitarian theories to philosophically justify professional and technical education, as well as advanced institutional learning, as a way of validating the citizens’ right to education in modern human society, beyond the level of basic education.

Key words: Education, Justification, Right, Pragmatism, Utilitarianism.




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