In the latter half of the nineteenth century, educational rights were included in domestic bills of rights.The 1849 Paulskirchenverfassung, the constitution of the German Empire, strongly influenced subsequent European constitutions and devoted Article 152 to 158 of its bill of rights to education.The constitution guaranteed free and compulsory education at all levels, a system of state scholarships and vocational training in state enterprises.
It was the states obligation to ensure that parents complied with this duty, and many states enacted legislation making school attendance compulsory.
Furthermore, child labour laws were enacted to limit the number of hours per day children could be employed, to ensure children would attend school.
The framework also places duties on other stakeholders in the education process: the child, which as the privileged subject of the right to education has the duty to comply with compulsory education requirements, the parents as the ‘first educators’, and professional educators, namely teachers.
In Europe, before the Enlightenment of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, education was the responsibility of parents and the church.
This was in contrast to liberal theory at the time, which regarded non-state actors as the prime providers of education.
Socialist ideals were enshrined in the 1936 Soviet Constitution, which was the first constitution to recognise the right to education with a corresponding obligation of the state to provide such education.
"the entire process of social life by means of which individuals and social groups learn to develop consciously within, and for the benefit of, the national and international communities, the whole of their personal capabilities, attitudes, aptitudes and knowledge." The European Court of Human Rights has defined education in a narrow sense as "teaching or instructions...
in particular to the transmission of knowledge and to intellectual development" and in a wider sense as "the whole process whereby, in any society, adults endeavour to transmit their beliefs, culture and other values to the young." The fulfilment of the right to education can be assessed using the 4 As framework, which asserts that for education to be a meaningful right it must be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable.
The 1960 UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education defines education in Article 1(2) as: "all types and levels of education, (including such) access to education, the standard and quality of education, and the conditions under which it is given." In this sense education refers to the transmission to a subsequent generation of those skills needed to perform tasks of daily living, and further passing on the social, cultural, spiritual and philosophical values of the particular community.
The wider meaning of education has been recognised in Article 1(a) of UNESCO's 1974 Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.