Adolescents and the right to education
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The inalienable right of all people to education is enshrined in various international covenants, conventions and agreements, yet the actual fulfilment of this right varies in quantity and quality from one country to the other. On average, the compulsory length of schooling in the countries of the region is 10 years. Half of these countries have already made all secondary education mandatory, which is eminently reasonable since it is commonly accepted as a minimum threshold for lifelong well-being and skills-building. The main article in this edition of Challenges discusses this subject in depth, and shows how far behind we are in ensuring that all adolescents have access to the education to which they are entitled. It focuses on the low secondary school-completion rate and low level of learning acquisition, the strong socioeconomic and sociocultural stratification, the lack of citizenship skills, and the persistence of a relatively high dropout rate at all levels of secondary education. The main challenge in guaranteeing the right to education lies in reducing learning and attainment gaps by helping the groups that are presently lagging behind the most. As is customary, there are also reports on relevant meetings and conferences held in the region over the past half-year, together with the opinions of experts and adolescents and success stories in promoting school attendance in Uruguay and the Dominican Republic.