Secondary education

Since 1989, education has been seen as a basic human right for a child; Article 28, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that primary education should be free and compulsory while different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, should be available and accessible to every child. The terminology has proved difficult, and there was no universal definition before ISCED divided the period between primary education and university into junior secondary education and upper secondary education.

Secondary education is in most countries the phase in the education continuum responsible for the development of the young during their adolescence, the most rapid phase of their physical, mental and emotional growth. It is at this very education level, particularly in its first cycle, where values and attitudes formed at primary school are more firmly ingrained alongside the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Secondary Education Reform: Towards a Convergence of Knowledge Acquisition and Skills Development

(Upper) secondary education starts on the completion of basic education, which also is defined as completion of lower secondary education. The educational focus is varied according to the student's interests and future direction. Education at this level is usually voluntary.

More subjects may be dropped, and increased specialism occurs. Completion of (upper) secondary education provides the entry requirements to Level 5 tertiary education, the entry requirements to technical or vocational education (Level 4, non tertiary course), or direct entry into the workplace.

The United Nations was strong in its commitment to education for all but fell into linguistic difficulty defining that right.

“Article I: Purposes and functions 1. The purpose of the Organization is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) declared that elementary and fundamental education was a right to be enjoyed by all, but again could not define either elementary and fundamental education.

Article 26 :(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.