The Theoretical Relevance of the Capabilities Approach in Discussing the Purpose of Education

Edeji, Obinna C (2023) The Theoretical Relevance of the Capabilities Approach in Discussing the Purpose of Education. Journal of Education and Practice, 14 (3). pp. 11-24. ISSN 2222-288X

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This paper endeavours to use the Capabilities Approach (CA) to clarify the understanding of human dignity as the human right purpose of education and argue that access to education needs to be compulsory for all children in consonance with international human rights law (IHRL) and because of the significance of education in developing those capabilities needed to guarantee a life with dignity, which limits the discretion of states in accordance with the rules of IHRL. It argues that the CA is a relevant theoretical approach because it conceptualises valuable personal outcomes an individual could achieve through education i.e., the purpose education should achieve in the life of learners. This is an aspect that both IHRL scholars and the CA have not explored, i.e. investigating the purpose of education under IHRL and the insights and illuminations the propositions of the CA provide. As such, this paper contends that the CA emphasises human agency (what valuable things people can achieve) instead of markets and economic purposes. It endeavours to argue that the CA further accentuates the significance of access to schooling, which, in combination with the central function of human dignity in IHRL, allows the understanding of dignity as the fundamental purpose of education. This means that the CA contributes to a clearer and richer understanding of the use of human dignity in IHRL. It starts with the foundational work of Sen that is rooted in welfare economics, and more reliance is placed on Nussbaum’s philosophical work while discussing human dignity under the CA. This is because Nussbaum draws from moral and political philosophy in her version of the CA, which enhances our understanding of the theoretical conceptions of human dignity and its use under IHRL.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education ; Capabilities ; Approach ; Human Dignity ; Human Rights ; HCT
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
K Law > KZ Law of Nations
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Divisions: School of Law
Depositing User: Obinna Edeji
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2024 09:37
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2024 09:37

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