The right to education is a human right recognized in international human rights law. To fully realize, protect, promote and fulfil the right to education of our children, a network of complementary norms and mechanisms such as states adherence to international human rights treaties, implementation of international human rights obligations in domestic law, a domestic legal system that provides comprehensive and procedural human rights law, effective and accessible state institutions as well as a vibrant civil society and the population must develop a strong human rights culture. However, the principal duty to promote and to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms lies with the state.
The right to education has been enshrined in so many Instruments. At the international level, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have been widely considered as the central instrument of protection for the right to education. (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2008). Similarly, the Convention on the Rights of the Child have adopted general comments or general recommendations on the right to education for all children.
At the regional level, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) have been adopted and ratified by states to help in the realization of this right. At the national level, the right to education is a fundamental human right guaranteed in the Constitution of Kenya (CoK, 2010). Article 53 (1) (a) of the Constitution provides that every child has the right to free and compulsory basic education.
However, despite the presence of these fundamental instruments, the right to free and compulsory basic education for our children might not be fully realized due to some factors such as loss of land for their learning institutions due to land grabbing.
For schools that existed and are now inexistent due to land grabbing have had negative impact on school going children in that they are forced to trek longer distances in search of an education. This exposes them to diverse extreme conditions such as social and psychological impacts. One such case is Sumbeiywo primary school in Eldoret. Constant legal tussles on the ownership of the land has seen parents pull out their children from the school, which only serves to bolden attempts of the landgrabbers trying to lay a claim on the school. In Kwale County, pupils of Mwamdudu primary school are constantly having to look for alternative routes to access the school grounds because of excavation works around the school by the landgrabber, who is in open defiance of court orders. These are just but few a cases that point to the impact land grabbing has had on children and their right to access education.
If we are to fully realize the right to education for our school going children, then we must all pull together and show concerted efforts to protect public school land in Kenya.